Friend, Family, art
Adrianne
Does anyone know what the story is behind the words 'Friend', 'family', or 'art' is?
It is for a paper I have to write for school so any help would definitly be appreciated!


Thank you!

Lewis Joplin II
family - (15) "Latin 'famulus,' a word of unknown origin, meant 'servant.' From it was derived 'familia,' a collective term for all the domestic servants of a household. Only rarely was it used for the entire household including the servants' employers too, and when it first entered English it was with the original Latin sense (which indeed survived until the late 18th century). Gradually, however, the English word broadened out to 'whole household,' and then in the mid-17th century narrowed down again to the current main sense 'group of related people.'" From "Dictionary of Word Origins: the Histories of More Than 8,000 English-Language Words" by John Ayto (Arcade Publishing, New York, 1990). Page 218.

friend - "(OE) Etymologically, 'friend' means 'loving.' It and its Germanic relatives (German 'freund,' Dutch 'vriend,' Swedish 'frande,' etc.) go back to the present participle of the prehistoric Germanic verb frijojan 'love'...*frijojan itself was a derivative of the adjective *frijaz, from which modern English gets 'free,' but which originally meant 'dear, beloved.'" From "Dictionary of Word Origins: the Histories of More Than 8,000 English-Language Words" by John Ayto (Arcade Publishing, New York, 1990). Page 241.

art - " (13) Like 'arm,' 'arthiritis,' and 'article,' 'art' goes back to an Indo-European root *ar-,' which meant 'pur things together, join.' Putting things together implies some skill; hence Latin 'ars' 'skill.' Its stem 'art-' produced Old French 'art,' the source of the English word. It brought with it the notion of 'skill,' which it still retains; the modern association with painting, sculpture, etc., did not begin until the mid 17th century..." From "Dictionary of Word Origins: the Histories of More Than 8,000 English-Language Words" by John Ayto (Arcade Publishing, New York, 1990). Page 37.

Notes: Frijojan has a line over the o. The * before words means they were "reconstructed" by historical linguists, who have reconstructed these ancient words and word-parts from the evidence of later written sources and of modern descendants of these prehistoric languages." OE means Old English. The numbers after "family" and "art" refer to the century in which they were first recorded in English.


Frank Pierce
Particularly interesting, Lewis, your comment on "ar, art", etc meaning to assemble. An obvious and excellent example of this usage is in the word "artificer" literally one who assembles things, an older usage for mechanic.

Lewis Joplin II
Yes. And I found "family" interesting in that it didn't always refer to a group of related people.
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