Boasting and bragging

No one likes boasters. People are expected to be modest (especially when they have nothing to show). For that reason, the verbs meaning “to boast” are usually “low” or slangy (disparaging) and give
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No one likes boasters. People are expected to be modest (especially when they have nothing to show). For that reason, the verbs meaning “to boast” are usually “low” or slangy (disparaging) and give etymologists grief and sufficient reason to be modest. They tend to surface in print late and lack good cognates. For instance, one of the Old English words for “boast” was bōian, but dictionaries do not connect them, though the phonetic and semantic affinity between the two seems rather obvious. It is customary to compare bōian and Latin fāri “to speak,” both allegedly going back to the ancient root bha. If they are indeed related, Engl. fatuous “stupid and devoid of substance,” from Latin, can be related to fatus, the perfect participle of fāri, with the development from “something said” to “a silly thing said” (such an etymology, with a slight variation, has already been proposed in the recent past, and I believe it is not an exercise in fatuity). Another Old English verb for “boast” has. . .

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News source: Linguistics – OUPblog

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