A fun look at the meaning and use of "werben" and its family and why applying for a job in German is about advertising yourself.... literally.
werben, die Werbung, sich bewerben, die Bewerbung, erwerben, erwerbslos
This is one of several roots that had at their core the idea of:
turning, winding, bending
The most obvious English offspring are words like worm, warp, weird, wrestle, wrist and more (see below).
But also -ward, worry, worth and wrong belong to the family, each with their own… ahem… twist on the original sense.
But the root is also the origin of the Latin verb *vertere. This verb meant to bend and it’s the origin of dozens of words like versus, vertebra, invert, subvert, versatile and me … I mean… introvert.
The three most important relatives in German are werden (“turning toward, winding up” -> to become), der Wert (“what you give versus what you get” -> worth) and werfen (“winding motion with your hand”- to throw).
Here’s an (incomplete) list of English relatives and how they tie in with the original sense:
- -ward (“winding in a direction”)
- weird (“twisted”)
- worm, vermin
- wrestle, wrist (“winding, bending”)
- wrinkle, wriggle, wrangle,… (all about “twisting” in some way)
- wrong (originally “twisting your mouth”)
- worry (originally “to strangle the throat”)
- worth (originally what you give “versus” something else)
- versus (“turn toward”)
- version (“what you turn out, rendition”)
- vertebra (“what bends”)
- versatile (“turns in many directions”)
- invert (“turn backward”)
- convert (“to turn to”)
- extrovert (“turned outward”)
- introvert (me)
- pervert (“turned beyond”)
- subvert (Star Wars expectations)
- anniversary (“turn of the year”)
- universe (all wrapped in one)