Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Word "Ferry"

Another trip to the mainland today for appointments caused me to wake up wondering where the word "ferry" comes from.  (Who does that - wake up thinking about words and their roots????)  So naturally I turned to Latin (2 years of it in high school will do that to you):
Latin Roots in English
Latin RootMeaningEnglish
fer-o(I) carryferry, transfer, refer

Further searching found it to then be from a Germanic root, Old Norse, Old English, and what in the world is Old Frisian??  Frisian (adj.) Look up Frisian at
"of or pertaining to the people of Frisia," or "belonging to the tribe of the Frisii," 1590s, from Latin Frisii, from a Germanic tribal name (source also of Old Frisian Frise, Middle Dutch Vriese, Old High German Friaso, Old English Frisa), perhaps originally meaning "curly-headed" (compare Old Frisian frisle "curly hair"). As a noun, "West Germanic language spoken in Friesland," the lowland coast of the North Sea and nearby islands, closely related to Dutch and Old English.

ferry (v.) Look up ferry at
Old English ferian "to carry, convey, bring, transport," from Proto-Germanic *farjan "to ferry" (cognates: Old Frisian feria "carry, transport," Old Norse ferja "to pass over, to ferry," Gothic farjan "travel by boat"), from PIE root *per- (2) "to lead, pass over" (see port (n.1)). Related to fare (v.). Related: Ferriedferriesferrying.
ferry (n.) Look up ferry at
early 15c., "a passage over a river," from Old Norse ferju- "passage across water," ultimately from the same Germanic root as ferry (v.). The modern noun (1580s) is a shortening of ferry boat (mid-15c.).

And so now we know!  Interesting that the word "fare" is related...especially since our ferry fares have just increased.  But today:  Quaedam enim est me transferre.

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