Blessing and cursing part 2: curse (conclusion)

The verb curse, as already noted, occurred in Old English, but it has no cognates in other Germanic languages and lacks an obvious etymon. The same, of course, holds for the noun curse. The OED
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The verb curse, as already noted, occurred in Old English, but it has no cognates in other Germanic languages and lacks an obvious etymon. The same, of course, holds for the noun curse. The OED keeps saying that the origin of curse is unknown. Indeed, attempts to guess the word’s etymology have not yielded a universally accepted solution. For a long time the oldest dictionary makers tried to derive curse from cross by transposing the sounds in the middle. Such a process (called metathesis) is not only possible but even common, and r is the usual victim of it. The anthologized example is Engl. burn versus German brennen; however, there are dozens of others. Given this reconstruction, we are left wondering how the meaning of curse developed. Since there were so many possibilities to borrow a Latin word or to use a suitable native one to express the idea of cursing, why should the missionaries or clerics have gone to the trouble of mutilating the noun for “cross” and endowed the product. . .

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News source: Linguistics – OUPblog

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