At first, the etymology of the word fiction doesn’t seem to hold any surprises. The word showed up in English in the 1300s meaning something invented. It came from the French word ficcion, which meant ruse, invention or dissimulation. Ficcion came from the Latin word fictio, a fashioning or feigning.
Nothing particularly unexpected there.
But wait. The Latin word fictio’s source is the Latin verb, fingere, to devise, form or shape, It comes from a Proto-Indo-European verb meaning to knead, to build, to form;
all the things one might do with dough.
In fact, through a long series of side-by-side mutations, the word fiction and the word dough come from the same root (as do the words lady & paradise).
It’s the rare writer who’s rolling in the dough (that meaning kicked in about 1851), but the literal side of the breadmaking connection offers some intriguing ways to think about writing fiction:
Bread baking involves simple, everyday ingredients, mixed into something new.
Without leavening, it’s not bread.
It needs to be proofed.
It needs a bunch of manhandling.
It has to rest between stages.
It’s best when shared with others.
Dear followers, what connections have I missed?
My thanks go out to this week’s sources, etymonline.com, take our word, & the OED.
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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