I’ll wish you a great weekend with one of my favorite Instagram accounts. 100% worth a follow if you’re into deep etymology.
BRITTLE BREAD Behold the attached picture of outright depravity, a BROTHEL. This inconspicuous word is actually rather useful in understanding a cluster of related words in English and looking into some lost words too. . A BROTHEL is a shortening of a 'brothel-house' where a brothel itself is a wretched and depraved person. The word was originally an adjective, meaning 'degenerative' or 'corruptive', such adjectives are formed from certain verbs + an -el or -le suffix meaning 'prone to ___'. These words were replaced by Latin '-ative', English could have had '*SPEAKLE' from Old English 'sprǣcol', but replaced it with 'talkative'. In this case BROTHEL, though not attested directly in any Old English texts, is from the verb 'brēoþan', (reconstructed as '*BREETHE' by analogy to 'SEETHE'); to deteriorate or fall apart. Much like the Western world now. . Another example of these adjectives, and one which is still in current use, is 'BRITTLE', this time from a related verb 'bryttian', meaning prone to BRIT, shatter or break into pieces. Icelandic 'brytja' and Swedish 'bryta' share this same word. In Beowulf, recalling the role of a king, Scyld Sceafing is described as a 'bēagbrytta', someone who 'brits', distributes, divides or dispenses (literally breaks apart) rings. This word survived into Middle English as a 'BRET', a dispenser, but there's no reason a vending machine cannot be a '*sellbret'. . From this same root of breaking, crushing and disintegrating is the verb 'to BRUISE', originally to break or crack. But quite strange is how this meaning is unique for English yet the 'crack' became metaphorical, German 'brausen' and Swedish 'brusa' mean 'to roar' (German takes it further where it is slang for driving fast), and Norwegian 'brosa' is a storm. . Further yet, there is still speculation over the source of 'BREAD' which may be related either to 'BREW', or perhaps the above words, it may have merged the two early forms together. This word shares its roots and meaning with Latin 'frustrum', a scrap or small bit of food, something broken off. . Sometimes we need to look at what is broken and look to the source before it became that way. .