Word for Wednesday: Spelling

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How strange that, in all our years of writing Word for Wednesday posts, we’ve never featured the word spelling

A few years ago, we discovered that the word grammar has links to magic – and of course the word spelling does too (magic spell, anyone?). The word dates to the 1660s when it meant ‘manner of forming words with letters’ and came from the Old English spell- and the suffix -ing. The word evolved to mean 'the way a word has been spelled' by the 1730s.

In Old English, spell meant ‘story’ and came from the Proto Germanic ‘spellam’. Around 1200 the word spell took on the meaning ‘utterance’ and later, in the 1570s, it started being used in reference to magic incantations.  From 'Abracadabra' to 'Aveda Kedavra', click here to learn about the histories of different magic spells. 

Spelling, in its modern sense, has a certain magic to it as well. Different combinations of the same letters create words with different meanings. Words with the same spelling can mean different things. Spelling evolves with language and old words take on new meanings. What do you think…a step too far? 



Sources: Online Etymology Dictionary 

11 Sep 2019
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