BL: race, racism
Posted: 03 January 2020 12:55 PM   [ Ignore ]
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This one took me a while. It’s a sensitive subject; please discuss it with decorum and an honest sense of inquiry.

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Posted: 04 January 2020 06:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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A good discussion in general, but the etymological part is out of date.  You say:

Where the French word comes from is uncertain, but a few roots are commonly proffered:

• the Latin radix, meaning root
• the Latin generatio, from which it is a clipping
• the Arabic faras, meaning horse

All of these are plausible, but there is no strong evidence for any one of them.

The last two sound completely implausible to me (credential: MPhil in historical linguistics), and I presume the first has been rejected for good and sufficient reasons though I don’t know enough about the development of Late Latin/Romance to know why; the OED (Third Edition, June 2008) goes with my off-the-cuff guess once I saw your mention of haras:

Apparently originally aphetic < haras n., probably subsequently reanalysed as showing a spec. sense of race n.6 (compare race n.6 2b).

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Posted: 04 January 2020 10:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Updated. I missed the n.5 entry. I don’t know why the OED maintains the separate entries. Thanks.

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