Etymological Journeys


I’ve always been interested in the origin of words. Probably because there’s tons of historical context that weaves fascinating stories. Especially in a language as slorish promiscuous as English!

So I came across Laurentia while reading about the ancient supercontinents.

From Wikipedia:

Laurentia or the North American Craton is a large continental craton that forms the ancient geological core of the North American continent. Many times in its past, Laurentia has been a separate continent, as it is now in the form of North America, although originally it also included the cratonic areas of Greenland and also the northwestern part of Scotland, known as the Hebridean Terrane.”

The craton is named after the Laurentian Shield, through the Laurentian Mountains, which received their name from the Saint Lawrence River, named after Lawrence of Rome.[3]

Saint Lawrence or Laurence (LatinLaurentius, lit. laurelled; 31 December AD 225[1] – 10 August 258) was one of the seven deacons of the city of RomeItaly, under Pope Sixtus II who were martyred in the persecution of the Christians that the Roman Emperor Valerian ordered in 258.

laurel wreath is a round wreath made of connected branches and leaves of the bay laurel (Laurus nobilis), an aromatic broadleaf evergreen, or later from spineless butcher’s broom (Ruscus hypoglossum) or cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus). It is a symbol of triumph and is worn as a chaplet around the head, or as a garland around the neck.

laurel (n.)

mid-14c. variant of lorrer (c. 1300), from Old French laurierlorier “bay tree, laurel tree” (12c.), from Latin laurus “laurel tree,” which is probably related to Greek daphne “laurel” (for change of d- to l- see lachrymose), which is probably from a pre-IE Mediterranean language.

And from there, the historical trail is lost. Some pre-Proto-Indo-European language, possibly a Celtic dialect or full tongue. But more than likely the ancient Celts took that word from someone else who took it from someone else who took it from someone who may have been a Neanderthal. How many interconnections to the past do we unknowingly weave every time we speak?

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