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Quarry and Quarry


Sometimes two words have different origins and different meanings but end up being spelled the same way . . . as if they had wandered into the same shop from different directions and bought the same disguise.

The case of distinct meanings of two different words that ended up being spelled the same way is to be distinguished from the case in which two different meanings of a single word have arisen as a result of, for example, divergent literal and figurative usages. One such example is the verb lick, from three-thousand-year-old Germanic and Indo-European words likkôn, lighnā-, ligh-, meaning “to pass the tongue over (something),” as in “licking one’s plate clean.” From that arose the expression “to lick into shape” (referring to what a mother dog, say, does to her newborn puppies). From there developed the idea, beginning in the 16th and 17th centuries, of cleansing one’s adversary of his faults by “giving him a licking.”

LAPPA (Old English, rag, cloth covering front of body) > LAP

LAPTEIN (Greek, to lick, lap up) > LAP

LĪMA (Arabic, lime, lemon) > LIME (the fruit)

LĪMUS (Latin, mud) > LIME (mortar, cement, calcium oxide, as in limestone)

MENTA (Latin, the aromatic plant of the genus Mentha) > MINT

MONĒTA (Latin, money) > MINT

PRŪNUM (Latin, plum or prune) > PRUNE

PRO + ROIGNIER (Old French, to trim back) > PRUNE

QUATTUOR (Latin, four) > quadrāre (Latin, to make square, as with stone walls) > quarriere (Old French, stone quarry) > quarree, quarey (Middle English, Modern English QUARRY, an excavation from which stones for use in building and construction have been extracted by cutting or blasting)

CORIUM (Latin, leather) > cuiriee, cuiree, cuyree, quyrreye (French, leather, skin, hide) > quyrre, quarre, quarie (Middle English, parts of the carcass of the deer killed in the hunt and placed on the hide as a reward for the hounds) > quarrey, QUARRY (Early Modern English, any animal hunted by hounds or other means; any object of pursuit)

STÉOR (Old English, castrated cattle) > STEER

STEURŌ (Germanic, rudder) > STEER

STILLA (Latin, drop, drip) > STILL (a device used for distilling a liquid)

STILLE (Old English, motionless, unchanging) > STILL (quiet, calm)

STUDU (Old English, post, projection) > STUD

STOD (Old English, horse for breeding) > STUD

WAFEL (Dutch, a batter cake) > WAFFLE

WAFF (English dialect, yelp, woof, be indecisive) > WAFFLE

VAKA (Old Norse, opening made in ice) > WAKE (track of vessel in water)

WACEN (Old English, to wake, watch) > WAKE (to waken; to watch over the dead)

WEG- (Indo-Germanic root, to weave) > WAX (the “woven” part of the honeycomb)

AWEKS (Indo-Germanic root, to grow) > WAX (what the moon does, besides wane)


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