Approaching “brash”

Two weeks ago, I promised to deal with the word brash, but, before doing so, I would like to make it clear that we are approaching a minefield. Few people, except for professional etymologists,
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Two weeks ago, I promised to deal with the word brash, but, before doing so, I would like to make it clear that we are approaching a minefield. Few people, except for professional etymologists, think of words in terms of phonetic or semantic groups. (With regard to phonetics, note my recent series on kl-words, from clutter and clod to cloud and cloth.) Inquisitive students ask: “What is the origin of brouhaha, hullabaloo, and shenanigans?” It seldom occurs to them that brouhaha may be in some obscure way related to other br– words, that, to discover the derivation of hullabaloo, one should cast a wide net and consider other such  slangy formations, and that for explaining shenanigans it is necessary to study certain and possible borrowings from Irish. The phonetic aspect is the hardest. So to repeat: Can brouhaha be “related” to bread and brother? In the past, I have discussed only two br-words: brisket  and brothel. The origin of both is problematic. The whole br-page even in. . .

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News source: Linguistics – OUPblog

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