Marc Velasco marcjvelasco at GMAIL.COM
Wed Aug 27 14:37:47 UTC 2008

no mention of _off kilter_ ?

On Tue, Aug 26, 2008 at 3:07 PM, Mark Mandel <thnidu at gmail.com> wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Mark Mandel <thnidu at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: akilter
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> On Tue, Aug 26, 2008 at 1:53 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>
> wrote:
> >                  Similarly with these a- adjectives, the
> > meaning ends up approximating 'a bit off', whether by reinforcing the
> > base ("akimbo", "awry", etc.) or reversing it ("akilter").  The fact
> > that "kilter" is so rare itself doesn't hurt.
> What's the base of "akimbo"? OED etym:
> [Deriv. unknown. Prof. Skeat (Append.) gives a suggestion of
> Magnussen, comparing the earliest known forms with Icel. keng-boginn,
> -it, 'crooked' (Vigfusson), lit. 'bent staple-wise, or in a horse-shoe
> curve'; other suggestions are a cambok in the manner of a crooked
> stick (ME. cambok, med.L. cambuca [long u], see CAMMOCK); a cam bow in
> a crooked bow. None of these satisfies all conditions.
>  The difficulty as to a-cambok, a cam bow, is that no forms of the
> word show cam-, from which the earliest are the most remote. The Icel.
> keng-boginn comes nearer the form, but there is no evidence that it
> had the special sense of a-kimbo, and none that the latter ever had
> the general sense of 'crooked.' It also postulates an early Eng.
> series of forms like *keng-bown or *keng-bowed, *keng-bow, *akengbow,
> quite unknown and unaccounted for.]
> --
> Mark Mandel
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