The people of the mist

The true people of the mist are not the tribesman of Haggard’s celebrated novel but students of etymology. They spend their whole lives in the mist (or in the fog) and have little hope to see the
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The true people of the mist are not the tribesman of Haggard’s celebrated novel but students of etymology. They spend their whole lives in the mist (or in the fog) and have little hope to see the sun. However, after saying goodbye to fogs and foxes, I promised a post on mist. A good deal about this word is known and will be found in all dependable reference works, but a few details may be of interest to the readers of our blog. Our oldest etymologists had no clue to the origin of this mysterious noun. Some Greek words were cited in the hope of finding a reliable cognate. At least one such word exists, but it did not occur to anybody three hundred years ago. Minsheu wondered whether mist is connected with Latin mixtus “mixed,” because mist, as he pointed out, is a combination of vapors. Moist looked promising, but English moist is from Old French, from Latin, where its traces are partly lost, though it could go back to the root seen in Latin mūcus “mucus.” In an English dictionary, a. . .

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News source: Linguistics – OUPblog

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