Monday, 09 November 2009

Etymology of the word War: Origin and meaning

After a couple of posts triggered by Poppy Day I started wondering as to the origin of the word "war" and the dictionary definition.
The explanations below I have copied and pasted from Wikipedia. The link will take you to more detailed information and recognition of sources.

"War is a reciprocated, armed conflict between two or more non-congruous entities, aimed at reorganising a subjectively designed, geo-politically desired result."

"From late Old English (c.1050), wyrre, werre, from Old North French werre "war" (Fr. guerre), from Frankish *werra, from Proto-Germanic *werso (Compare with Old Saxon werran, Old high German werran, German verwirren "to confuse, perplex"). Cognates suggest the original sense was "to bring into confusion."

There was no common Germanic word for "war" at the dawn of historical times. Spanish, Portuguese, Italian guerra are from the same source; Romanic peoples turned to Germanic for a word to avoid Latin "bellum" because its form tended to merge with bello- "beautiful."

1 comment:

Danby said...

War, like guerre, phonetically evokes a cry of rage