Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Daily Hump: Jaded

I began today pondering whether jade, the gemstone, has any relation to the sensation of being jaded caused from over-indulgence. As I discovered the words are not only unrelated but one exists purely because of French gender confusion.

In the 17th c., when the gemstone was still rather unfamiliar, the feminine l'ejade became the masculine le jade via a simple error and hence our modern word jade is not ejade. L'ejade comes from the Spanish piedra de (la) ijada (stone of colic) because of the gem's supposed ability to cure this ailment. Ijada goes back to the Latin ilia meaning flanks or kidney areas (see ilium, one of the pelvic bones).

The blah kind of jade is a figurative sense coming from a noun meaning "a beaten down horse". This may be related to the Old Norse jalda, meaning "mare", which is itself from Finno-Ugric. The OED says there's no evidence to support any of this but it's as good a guess as any.

jade [Online Etymology Dictionary]
jade [OED]

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:: posted by David, 8:01 AM


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