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October etymological gleanings continued

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There is a good word aftermath. Aftercrop is also fine, though rare, but, to my regret, afterglean does not exist (in aftermath, math– is related to mow, and –th is a suffix, as in length, breadth, and warmth). Anyway, I sometimes receive letters bypassing OUP’s official address. They deal with etymology and usage. As a rule, I answer them almost at once, and our correspondence remains known only to the questioner and me. But some queries may be interesting to a larger audience. Also, in September I was a guest on Minnesota Public Radio. There was no time to respond to all the calls from the listeners, and I decided to take care of some old letters and recent questions now. Why does until mean the same as till? Shouldn’t until mean the opposite of till? No. Until, which is a borrowing from Scandinavian, goes back to und-til, in which und– means practically the same as –til. This word is a tautological compound (I have often written about such words). Both its. . .

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News source: Linguistics – OUPblog

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