Locked in poorly-lit word-dungeons, etymologists studying countless languages have done their best to construct the mother language for Indo-European languages. This hypothetical language is called Proto-Indo European.
One of the many proposed word-parts in this academically constructed language is ei-, meaning to go. Following is a very abbreviated list of some of the modern progeny of that ancient, imagined root, ei-.
exit — to go out — appeared in English from ei- in the 1530s through Latin.
Mahayana — a branch of Buddhism — appeared in English from ei- in the 1700s from a Sanskrit word meaning the great vehicle.
itinerary — route of travel — appeared in English from ei- in the 1400s from Greek through Latin.
Janus -- Roman god of portals & doors — came to English about 1500 through Latin, most likely from ei-.
sedition — revolt, uprising — came to English from ei- in the 1300s through Old French.
circuit — a going around — appeared in the 1400s from ei- through Old French & Latin.
errant — misplaced, originally traveling or roving — came to English from ei- in the the 1300s through Latin & Anglo-French.
sudden — unexpected — arrived in English in the 1300s through Anglo-French & Vulgar Latin from ei- through a verb meaning to come or go stealthily.
itinerant — traveling — appeared in English from ei- in the 1560s through Late Latin.
yew — evergreen tree that symbolizes death & mortality — showed up in Old Englishfrom ei- through Proto-Germanic.
obituary - registry of deaths - appeared in English from ei- in the 1700s through a Latin word meaning departure.
Look at all the places we’ve been taken by two little letters meaning to go. Bravo & brava to the etymologists who have put ei- into the mouths of people who couldn’t even have written those letters, since they had no alphabet to begin with.
Now that it's 2022, imagine all the fabulous places to go.
Big thanks to this week’s sources: Merriam Webster, etymonline.com, the OED, clipartbest.com & wordnik.com.
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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