Monday, December 11, 2023

Lexember, Day 11: frêiu

This is a weird little word that trickled down from Germanic. It means ‘world’, but in an abstract sense not tied to the planet – the Earth itself is called Ṫerra. Frêiu is more like “the range of human experience.” Originally frêius carried only the meaning of ‘world’; it took on the secondary meaning of ‘people’ in the same way that French monde took on the same connotation, probably from an earlier tout le monde ‘everyone’ (compare: le monde entier ‘the whole world’). 

Interesting side-note: The Proto-Germanic word, *ferhwuz, also meant ‘oak tree’, and is related to the Latin quercus with the same meaning, hence the taxonomic genus.

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