It seems there’s a lot of hurt, ache, & pain going around, so why not?
The word hurt appeared in English as early as 1200. Hurt not only meant to injure the body, feelings, or reputation, it also meant to charge against, rush, or crash into. It came from an Old French word with no definite source, though Celtic, Frankish, Middle High German, Norse, & Dutch roots have been suggested.
The verb form of the word pain came to English from Old French in 1300, meaning to strive, endeavor, hurt or strain oneself. It came from a Proto-Indo-European word meaning to atone or compensate. The noun form of pain showed up later that century, meaning punishment (it’s related to the word penalty). Hmmm — so punishment = striving? Does this reflect some sort of medieval “no pain no gain” thinking?
The Old English word for the concept of suffering continued pain gave us the modern word ache. Descendants of what appears to be ache’s root also exist in Sanskrit & Greek. Its meaning was fault or guilt.
So might our aches be caused by guilt? Do we bring them on ourselves? Must striving and endeavoring involve pain? And how often is it we find ourselves uncertain of the source of our hurt?
Ponderings aside, may you avoid all the following aches:
tooth-ache (1200 or earlier)
Comments? Here’s hoping you’ll avoid any hurtful ones.
Big thanks to this week’s sources: the OED, Etymonline, Collins Dictionary, Merriam Webster, & Wordnik.
I write for teens, narrate audio books, bake bread, play music, and ponder the wonder of words in a foggy little town on California's central coast.
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