whisker: etymology in AHD4

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri May 21 14:56:20 UTC 2010

At 9:59 AM -0400 5/21/10, Mark Mandel wrote:
>Wondering whether "whisker" & "whisk broom" were related, I checked in the
>American Heritage Dictionary 4ed (hardbound), and found this etymology
>under  "whisker" (pasted from online
>which is the same):
>Middle English wisker, anything that wisks, from wisken, to whisk ; see
>So the answer to my original question was Yes.
>But "anything that wisks"? No entry for "wisk": it's a typo for "whisk".

Maybe the thought was that "whisk" resulted from
the genericide and semantic broadening of Wisk ®,
which shows up as a verb in relatively early uses
("Ring around the collar?  Wisk it out!").


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

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