Word for Wednesday: Blue

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In February, we are continuing with the Word for Wednesday theme of colours

The word colour entered English via Old French and comes from the Latin ‘color’, from the Old Latin ‘colos’ meaning ‘a covering’, from the PIE root ‘kel-’ meaning ‘to conceal’. The word has been used in reference to skin colour since the early-thirteenth century and in reference to pigments and dye since the fourteenth century. 

The spelling colour became the common English spelling from the fourteenth century, but a classical correction made color an alternative from the fifteenth century. Color is now the common American English spelling of this word. 

Last month we looked at the words redorangeyellow, and green. This month, we will begin by looking at the colour blue

Blue falls after green on the colour spectrum and is the colour of a clear sky on a sunny day. 

The word dates to the fourteenth century and comes from the Old French ‘blo’ meaning ‘pale’, ‘blonde’, or ‘blue’.  ‘Blo’ comes from the Proto Germanic ‘blæwaz’, from the PIE root ‘bhel’ meaning ‘to shine’. If you read our blog post on the word yellow, you may have noticed that both yellow and blue come from very similarly spelt PIE roots for the verb ‘to shine’. 

When you imagine light reflecting on the water, it becomes much easier to picture how these very different colours might once have been described using similar words.

03 Feb 2021
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