The word read has come a long way, baby.
The primary definition we know today – to understand the meaning of written symbols appears to have been born in Old English, though its roots go much further back. I find it fascinating that read’s original meanings all funneled their way through Old English, but still magically apply to our modern understanding of the word read.
The Old Irish root meant “to deliberate or consider,” and the Sanskrit grandmother of read meant “to succeed or accomplish.” Old Norse, Old Frisian, Dutch & German meant “to counsel, advise, or guess.” One must be particularly appreciative of words with meanings as disparate as advise & guess. Those Old Frisians, Germans & Dutch folk may have been trickier than we might imagine.
I see all kinds of tweaky present-day applications for these meanings of read’s ancestors. In a blatant attempt to garner a couple extra comments, I’ll ask you, dear followers & guests, to please comment, explaining the connections you see between these ancestral meanings & our present understanding of the word read.
My thanks go out to this week’s sources, dictionary.reference.com, etymonline.com, & the OED.