Friday, November 17, 2006
Hump This: Cat
Hump This is a (quasi-)weekly Friday feature where you, the WordHumper reader, choose which lucky word gets humped back to the stoneage (or at least to Proto-Indo-Europa). Today's word comes from RM in California who asks:
You already humped goat but what about cat? I think it must come from [the French] chat but where'd THAT come from? Not Latin, clearly.It's a simple enough word and probably one of the first words most people learn to spell. The OED reports cat is traced as far back as records go for all modern European languages suggesting "extensive communication". Alas, it is because cat can be found in virtually all these languages over the past 2,000 years (the first recorded appearance of the word in Europe is the Latin catta, 1st c. CE) that it becomes practically impossible to pinpoint the word's origin.
That being said, cats have been kept by humans since ancient Egyptian times and most likely our modern word cat comes from this region (cf. Nubian kadis, Berber kadiska, both meaning "cat").
If you have a word you'd like humped please email it, along with your location, to wordhumper.
cat [Online Etymology Dictionay]
:: posted by David, 8:26 AM
So what about feline then? Where's that come from?