Today's episode looks at the Old English sense of the word wyrd. Originally, it wasn’t an adjective, but a noun that’s commonly translated into Modern English as ‘fate.’ However, this oversimplified translation doesn't tell the word's full story. By comparing and contrasting etymological and cultural evidence, it’s clear that wyrd and "fate" are really not the same thing at all.
‘Nice’ has gone through more changes than almost any other word in the English language. Over the course of seven centuries, it has been used to mean stupid, promiscuous, elegant, and effeminate, among a handful of other things. In this episode, we try to make sense of its perplexing evolution.
Welcome to Words for Granted! In this debut episode, we'll be looking at how villanus, the Latin word for ‘farmworker,’ became the Modern English word ‘villain.’ From Medieval England farmworkers to comic book antagonists, the meaning of ‘villain’ has changed drastically over time.