Tuesday, August 4, 2015
The history of swear words
About two-thirds of the words in the English language come from the romance languages: predominantly Latin and French. Yet most of our swear words have a base in the Germanic languages.
When William, Duke of Normandy defeated Harold Godwinson at the battle of Hastings in 1066 William made French the language of Britain. That meant that French became the “polite” language and the old Germanic-based English was considered crude.
In turn, that meant calling your annoying neighbor an arsch rather than a cul.
But more than that, our everyday words tend to be from the Germanic root. It’s not hard to work out what Haar, Hand, and Fuss mean, for example.
For the whole story see: http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2015/06/swear-words-etymology-and-the-history-of-english/
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