The B-word and its kin

Not too long ago, I promised to return to the origin of b-d words. Today I’ll deal with Engl. bad and its look-alikes, possibly for the last time—not because everything is now clear (nothing is
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Not too long ago, I promised to return to the origin of b-d words. Today I’ll deal with Engl. bad and its look-alikes, possibly for the last time—not because everything is now clear (nothing is clear), but because I have said all I could, and even this post originated as an answer to the remarks by our correspondents John Larsson (Denmark) and Olivier van Renswoude (the Netherlands). Mr. Larsson asked me whether I knew the Swedish word baddare. I told him that I did, but I had been familiar only with its sense “whopper, whacker; big fellow (guy),” that is, in general “anything big.” This is a common word. The Internet also glosses baddare as “demon,” which was new to me, and I wondered how that sense developed. It would be tempting to suggest that, after all, Swedish had a cognate of Engl. bad, which produced “demon, the evil one.” However, this is almost too good to be true. More probably, “demon” is “the big one; bugaboo.” Bad, as I think, has no related forms in Scandinavian. The. . .

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News source: OUPblog » Linguistics

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