What came first?

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In true Easter spirit our Word for Wednesday this week is the word ‘egg’.

Eggs have been a consistent food source since the beginning of humanity.

Throughout the history of the English language, the word ‘egg’ saw a handful of spellings before we settled on the Old Norse, ‘egg’. Let’s take a look at a few variations:

Old English: ‘oeg’ or ‘eai

Middle English ‘eye’ or ‘eyren

The borrowed Norse ‘egg’ first saw popular use in northern England in the mid-fourteenth century and by the fifteenth century anyone wanting to buy ‘eyren’ might not have been understood at all.

Interestingly, the word egg has a few other contexts other than its common noun form. You can ‘egg someone on’ meaning to encourage questionable behaviour. Another instance of egg as a verb is the (unfortunately popular) Mischief Night prank to ‘egg someone’s house’ meaning to pelt eggs at the house.

So on behalf of the Spellzone team, we hope you had ‘egg-cellent’ Easter!

03 Apr 2013
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