The derivation and origination of words has always captured my imagination. Language is the cumulative effort of the world’s population trying to communicate with one another. The romance languages are gorgeous when spoken and while I could listen to French and Italian being spoken all day, it is the English language that holds so much intrigue. English represents a culmination of words from so many countries and now these words make up one of the most complex languages in the world.
All of the words presented in these entries are taken from An Entymological Dictionary of The English Language by Walter W. Skeat
I chose this word to be first because I love to use it in its original form. While most of the world used tomorrow as the phrase to indicate something happening the next day, I love using ‘on the morrow’ instead. I have a crazy notion it will catch on and become a somewhat normal form of expression.
Entry: Morning, morn. Derivation: English. A doublet of morn. From the Middle English morwe by the change of final -we to -ow as in arr-ow, sparr-ow, sorr-ow, etc. ‘A Morwe’ = on the morrow. There is a reference of the word being used in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and when doing a search at www.canterburytales.org, I found the reference though it had been translated from its original form to a more modern form. The passage reads:
|761||She took him by the hand and hard did press,|
|762||So secretly that no one else could guess,|
|763||And bade him gain his health, and forth she went|
|764||To January, when for her he sent.|
|765||Up rose this Damian upon the morrow,|
|766||For gone was all his sickness and his sorrow.|
|767||He combed himself and preened his feathers smooth,|
|768||He did all that his lady liked, in sooth;|
|769||And then to January went as low|
|770||As ever did a hound trained to the bow.|
You can read the entire passage here: http://www.canterburytales.org/canterbury.php3?display?2?39?0?0?0???1?1?1?
The entry goes on to explain that Chaucer’s use of the word of ‘morwe’ is from the older morwen by losing the final n and subsequently equating to the modern English version of morn.