Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Thu Sep 6 15:58:45 UTC 2007

On 9/6/07, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at yahoo.com> wrote:
> > "Joan H. Hall" <jdhall at WISC.EDU> wrote:
> >
> > DARE's entry for "rift" (which has an Ohio,West Virginia, and two North
> > Carolina examples as well as six from Pennsylvania) refers to OED2,
> > which gives the date a1340 and the comment, "Now Sc. and north. dial."
> Wow, Joan!  That beats "ralph" by more than 600 years!

Why stop there? OED gives the Old Norse etymon "rypta" (mentioned
elsethread by Michael Montgomery), which Pokorny in turn derives from
Proto-IE "reub-". (This is apparently related to "reug-", the root for
"reek" and "eruct".)


I wonder if "ralph" might derive from some other cognate -- say,
German "rülpsen".

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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