Etymonline

insular (adj.)

“1610s, “of or pertaining to an island,” from Late Latin insularis “of or belonging to an island,” from Latin insula “island” (see isle). Metaphoric sense “narrow, prejudiced” is from 1775, from notion of being isolated and cut off from intercourse with other nations or people (an image that naturally suggested itself in Great Britain). The earlier adjective in the literal sense was insulan (mid-15c.), from Latin insulanus.”

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isle (n.)

“late 13c., ile, from Old French ile, earlier isle, from Latin insula “island,” a word of uncertain origin.

Perhaps (as the Ancients guessed) from in salo “(that which is) in the (salty) sea,” from ablative of salum “the open sea,” related to sal “salt” (see salt (n.)). De Vaan finds this “theoretically possible as far as the phonetics go, but being ‘in the sea’ is not a very precise description of what an island is; furthermore, the Indo-Europeans seem to have indicated with ‘island’ mainly ‘river islands.’ … Since no other etymology is obvious, it may well be a loanword from an unknown language.” He proposes the same lost word as the source of Old Irish inis, Welsh ynys “island” and Greek nēsos “island.” The -s- was restored first in French, then in English in the late 1500s.”

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Online Etymology Dictionary

“This is a map of the wheel-ruts of modern English. Etymologies are not definitions; they’re explanations of what our words meant and how they sounded 600 or 2,000 years ago.

The dates beside a word indicate the earliest year for which there is a surviving written record of that word (in English, unless otherwise indicated). This should be taken as approximate, especially before about 1700, since a word may have been used in conversation for hundreds of years before it turns up in a manuscript that has had the good fortune to survive the centuries.

The basic sources of this work are Weekley’s “An Etymological Dictionary of Modern English,” Klein’s “A Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of the English Language,” “Oxford English Dictionary” (second edition), “Barnhart Dictionary of Etymology,” Holthausen’s “Etymologisches Wörterbuch der Englischen Sprache,” and Kipfer and Chapman’s “Dictionary of American Slang.” A full list of print sources used in this compilation can be found here.

Since this dictionary went up, it has benefited from the suggestions of dozens of people I have never met, from around the world. Tremendous thanks and appreciation to all of you.”

https://www.etymonline.com/

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