Latin contribution?

Robin Hamilton robin.hamilton2 at BTINTERNET.COM
Mon Nov 16 23:59:04 UTC 2009

>        So, of ordinary words, just "port"?  OED does not agree on the
> derivation of tor/torr (which to me is just a literary term) and does
> not even list the other three.
> John Baker

Well, that's at least what Baugh says, John.  And at that, I was taught from
the second edition, and it has been revised since, I think.

As well as "port", I'd recognise "tor", possibly marginally less literary in
Scots rather than in English.  But the others presumably were part of
post-invasion English at one time, even if obsolete now.

(About "torr", Baugh says, in full: "_torr_ (tower, rock) possibly from L.
_turris_, possibly from Celtic."  This would leave slightly open the
question of whether it enters English directly from Latin, or via Celtic.)

I'd guess running spelling variants through the OED full text search would
turn them up, or the MED.  But that's just a guess, and I'm not prepared to
go to the trouble of confirming this at the moment.  <g>

Actually, checking the OED for 'wic' as "WICK n2 (an abode, dwelling,
dwelling place)", the OED has this directly from Latin _vicus_ into Common
Germanic.  Looking at Baugh's wording again on page 93-94, he says, "A few
other words are thought for one reason or another to belong to this /
period," so the ones I gave him as listing may not all be via Celtic.

Robin Hamilton

The American Dialect Society -

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