Face to face with brash: part 2

James Murray showed great caution in his discussion of the Modern English words spelled and pronounced as brash (see Part I of this essay). It remains unclear how many of them are related. One of
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James Murray showed great caution in his discussion of the Modern English words spelled and pronounced as brash (see Part I of this essay). It remains unclear how many of them are related. One of the homonyms seems to go back to French, but even that word is of Germanic origin. The entry in the OED online has not yet been revised, and revising it will entail many difficulties. To begin with, Icelandic also has a word sounding like Engl. brash. It ends in –s, but sh is a late addition to the phonetic inventory of English, so that the mismatch s versus sh is of no consequence. The real problem consists in the fact that the Icelandic word surfaced in print only in the seventeenth century. It means “bad weather; hard work, anxiety; sexual urge.” Its cognates (or seeming cognates!) in other Germanic languages mean “to burn, crackle; to fall down with a noise; arrogant, uncontrollable.” At first sight, the common semantic base of all of them appears to be “great force; impetuosity.”. . .

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News source: Linguistics – OUPblog

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