Most of you know what to go and to run means in German. But there are many more "modes" of walking. Today, we'll explore words like sneak, stumble and trod...
gehen, laufen, rennen, schleichen, stolpern, schlendern, bummeln
A fun look at the meaning of "schleifen" and what dragging has to do with sharp. Also: a few surprise guests like "schleichen" and "schlecht"
schleifen, die Schleife, der Schleim, schleichen, die Schleichwerbung, schlichten, schlecht
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)