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Take Our Word For It NOE No. 14  Melanie Crowley
 Oct 28, 2003 22:31 PST 

Take Our Word For It NOE No. 14

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It looks like this will be the last NOE for a few weeks as Melanie
departs next week for a business trip that may well last into December.

**This Week's NOE**

One of us was thumbing through one of our etymological dictionaries,
wondering what this week's NOE might examine. "Flesh" jumped out, not
only because it might be thought a good topic for Halloween Week, but
also simply because its etymology is, we think, rather interesting.

"Flesh" means, etymologically, "butchering an animal for food", and,
ultimately, "splitting". It was "flęsc" in Old English, where sc is
pronounced sh. It derived from the Indo-European root *pel- "split".
If you look at our table of phoneme shifts
(http://takeourword.com/theory.html#Indo-European%20consonants) you'll
see that the Indo-European "p" often morphed into an "f" in the
Germanic languages. That same root, *pel-, gave German "fleisch" flesh,
Dutch "vleesch" flesh and Swedish "fläsk" bacon. There is also the
English doublet of "flesh", "flitch", which means "side of bacon".
Apparently pork was pretty popular in early times. It wasn't until late
Old English that "flesh" came to apply to the tissues of living animals
and, eventually, humans.

**Laughing Stock**

Keep sending us funny stuff! We're caught up on gift certificates, so
if we use your submission in a future issue, you'll get your gift
certificate pretty quickly!


We have one copy of Derivation left. It will go to the next donor of $75
or more. Keep in mind: it could make a great holiday gift for someone.

**Next Issue**

As mentioned, you may not hear from us until December. We'll keep you

Until next time,
Take Our Word For It!
Melanie and Mike

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