Udge Words – How We Got Trudge, Sludge, Drudge etc.

Hello,

I usually explore one word per week but when I was musing about trudge, I couldn’t help wondering if -udge is a suffix as it’s pretty easy to find rhymes for trudgegrudge, drudge, fudge, sludge, nudge and so on. As a result you’re getting a bumper dose of Wordfoolery this week. If you’re a poet you should read on as this batch would help you craft a surprisingly downbeat sonnet.

Trudge

I’m starting with trudge. Regular readers will know that I enjoy hiking. Well, enjoy might be a bit strong. I enjoy having hiking. Sometimes the actual process of getting up the hill is hard work, particularly in bad weather. An instructor on a hiking course I did a few years ago suggested I learn the Noble Art of the Trudge. He reckoned that a slow and steady trudge, without any stops for breath, would get you safely up the hill without stumbles, aching legs, or gasping lungs. This is not natural for me as I like to walk fast, but I’ve been trying it. Now, each time I approach an incline I start thinking about the word trudge.

Where do we get trudge? Sadly, we don’t know, but my hiking instructor wouldn’t like the definition (to walk laboriously). Trudge joined English during the 1500s from an unknown origin. I did find one mention of possible Scandinavian or snow-shoe associations for trudge, but that’s far from official.

Grudge

Grudge entered English in the mid 1400s, so it’s even older than trudge. It initially described murmuring or complaining and it was a variant spelling of an even earlier word – grutch. Grutch, which isn’t used anymore, also gives us the idea of person being a grouch. Grutch arrived around 1200 as grucchen (complain, find fault, be angry) from the Old French verb grouchier.

By 1400 we’d developed the word begrudge (to concede reluctantly or with envy). There was even a related word in the 1200s, again now out of use, a grucclid – a woman who complains. Might be a handy confusing insult?

Drudge

Drudge (to work hard at a boring task) arrived in the late 1300s probably from the Old English verb dreogan (to work or suffer). There were similar words in earlier languages such as driogan in Old Saxon, drygia (to carry out) in Old Norse, and driugan (to serve as a soldier) in Gothic but all have that undertone of persisting with unpleasant tasks. Drudge can also be used as a noun, for somebody who is doing such work.

Fudge

The full story of fudge, the lying ship’s captain who gives us the phrase “fudging the books“, is in my first book “How To Get Your Name in the Dictionary”. He was a terrible man and rightly forgotten as the source of this particular word.

I had assumed that the noun fudge, for that delicious sweet, would have a different origin but it appears that our nefarious Captain Fudge predates the confection. Edible fudge appears around 1895 in American English as slang in female colleges. The theory goes that the recipe for fudge was made up on the spot, much like the lies the captain told and thanks to the common use of fudge at the time to indicate something impromptu.

Whatever the true story, the edible form of fudge is always most welcome in this house.

Sludge

Sludge is such an evocative word. I can easily imagine a drudge trudging through sludge, for example. It arrived in English in the 1600s to describe mud and ooze (another great word). Its origins are unclear which seems appropriate as it’s often hard to determine the origins of the sludge down the plug hole of the sink. Sludge may be related to slush or the Middle English word slutch (mud).

Nudge

This is the most recent of my -udge words. Nudge joined the party the late 1700s to describe a slight elbow push, often as a reminder or hint. Nobody told my mother the bit about “slight”. If she nudges you, you stay nudged.

The verb is older though, dating back to the 1600s and possibly with Scandinavian roots as we’ve also got nugge and nyggie in Norwegian (to jostle) and nugga in Icelandic (to rub or massage). I would claim nudge as one the Vikings gave us but honestly a subtle nudge wasn’t really their style.

There you have it, a quick tour of words ending in -udge. Sadly there’s no unifying -udge suffix but they all had a little story behind them.

Until next time happy reading, writing, and wordfooling,

Grace (@Wordfoolery)

How to Get Ahead – the Latin Roots of Anticipation

Hello,

As the old 1940s slogan goes – “if you want to get ahead, get a hat”. I was bemoaning the demise of widespread hat wearing last week at my writers’ group, was sketching elegant 1930s hats at pen&ink class a few days later, and now I find myself discovering how anticipation is all about the head, if not the hat.

Wordfoolery’s Hat, of course

Why anticipation? Well, it’s October and regular Wordfoolery readers will know that I mentor the Ireland North East region in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) each November. Hosting writing sessions, launch Kick Off, and a Thank Goodness it’s Over party doesn’t happen without some advance planning so October is a busy month for me. While encouraging writers in my area to pen 50,000 words in 30 days I also participate myself and October is doubly busy because I’m planning my own book-writing too.

All of which puts me in an anticipatory mood, but where do we get the word anticipation and what exactly does it mean?

I use anticipation to mean that feeling of looking forward to something in a positive sense but it has wider uses. You can anticipate by taking action in advance e.g. provide extra security in anticipation of large rowdy crowds. You can anticipate by using money before you’ve received it ( not very prudent). It’s also a musical term related to dissonance.

Anticipation entered English in the late 1300s but it was the 1800s before we associated it with a “looking forward to” meaning. Its original meaning was foreshadowing and it was formed from Latin by joining ant (front or forehead and hence the idea of being in front of or before) with capere (to take). The two together give us anticipare – to take care of something ahead of time or to take possession of something beforehand.

By the 1500s anticipation was about doing something before somebody else and then, as I mentioned earlier, by the 1800s we were anticipating by thinking in advance instead of doing or taking in advance. I suppose what this teaches me about my NaNoWriMo prep month is that I shouldn’t just think about my preparations, I should also take action. Wise words.

As for getting ahead with a hat, well, the whole ant thing was about getting your forehead out in front, a hat can really help with that, so perhaps the slogan was right? I’ll have to don my Wordfoolery jester’s hat while writing this month.

Until next time happy reading, writing, and wordfooling,

Grace (@Wordfoolery)

Bangers – Edible, Musical, and Explosive

Hello,

This week’s word is banger, a word which has a multitude of meanings despite it’s apparent simplicity.

For me, because it’s October now, the primary meaning of banger is a loud firework. Technically fireworks are illegal in these parts but it doesn’t stop enthusiasts traveling across the border to Northern Ireland (where they are legal) and stocking up in anticipation of Halloween parties. Inevitably there’s a temptation to let them off early and in some places this can start as early as September. It’s a nightmare for pet-owners and not much better for writers working from home.

The bangers must be cheap as they are in plentiful supply. They don’t make a display in the sky but they’re loud – hence the name. I was sure this was Hiberno-English but I checked my copy of “The Dictionary of Hiberno-English” by Dr Terence Patrick Dolan and the only listing there is one I never heard before – a banger is “someone on, say, a football team who is over the age limit” and presumably thus able to out-play the opposition due to size or skill. Sneaky, eh?

Bangers of the edible variety

The Cambridge dictionary backs me up on the firework definition and adds – sausages, old cars, and popular music with heavy beat and good for dancing. Urban Dictionary adds that a banger can be a party, presumably where such music is played. My teens definitely use banger in the musical sense more than for anything else.

Banger as a term for a sausage has a fun etymology which I found in the excellent “Outlander Kitchen” cookbook and in the Encyclopedia Britannica. Bangers and mash is a traditional British meal of sausages (the bangers) and mashed potatoes, usually served with an onion gravy. Sausages were nicknamed bangers during World War I when meat shortages encouraged sausage makers to be more inventive than usual. After all there are two things you should never see being made – laws and sausages – a motto often attributed to Otto von Bismarck but mythbusted here. Filling them with too much water caused the sausages to explode when cooked – hence bangers.

Bangers as a word pre-dates the old sausage story however and gets back to the whole noise issue. Banger entered English in the 1600s to describe anything which banged. By the end of that century we also had a word which has evaporated since – a bangster – a muscular bully. I could see that one coming back, although perhaps a bangster nowadays would be associated with music?

Banger led me further back to the verb bang (to strike hard with a loud blow). It joined English in the 1500s, possibly from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Norse banga (pound or hammer). Ever since I launched my “Words the Vikings Gave Us” I’m being haunted with Old Norse!

Since the 1500s bang wriggled its way into a few different meanings and phrases:

1810 – bang-up – meaning something is of top quality – a bang-up meal, for example

1855 – a sudden, loud, explosive noise

1864 – as slang for being very large

1937 – as slang for having intercourse

Bang and bangers are yet another example of thinking you know a modern word and finding a variety of phrases and origins when you go looking. Now I’m feeling hungry for sausages for my lunch, so long as they don’t explode.

Until next time happy reading, writing, and wordfooling,

Grace (@Wordfoolery)

p.s. In fun book news – my nearest independent bookshop, Academy Books, will be stocking “Words the Vikings Gave Us” from this week.

p.p.s. This post contains Amazon.com affiliate links which make a small payment to the blog if you choose to purchase through them.

p.p.p.s. The Journal, an Irish online newspaper, had a fun word origin quiz this morning which you might enjoy. One note though – the question about “smashing” is incorrect according to that Hiberno-English dictionary. Shame, it’s a good story.

How an Old Shoe gives us the word Sabotage

Hello,

This week’s word is sabotage, with thanks to the final episode of BBC’s submarine drama “Vigil”. The episode featured several characters discovering sabotage on the boat and it reminded me how much l like the sound of this word.

Where do we get sabotage from? Well, it’s the story of an old French shoe.

Old boots on a mountain summit (not sabots!)

Sabotage entered English in 1907 as a borrowed word from French. The French word derived from the verb saboter (to sabotage or bungle) whose origins lie in footwear. The sabot was a wooden shoe (from around 1200s) worn often by lower class workers as they toiled through muddy streets. They were clunky things but their thick soles got you above the level of the dirt and they were cheap to make, albeit wobbly. The wealthier might wear them too, but they would change into fancier leather or silk shoes when they reached their destination.

The sabots were pretty noisy objects, everybody would hear you coming and saboter translated literally as to walk noisily in sabots. Sabot arose from the Old French word bot (boot) and savate (old shoe). Savate may even come from the Persian word ciabat which gives us related words in Provençal, Portuguese, Spanish, Arabic, Basque, and Italian (ciabatta, yes that loaf is named for a shoe, a story for another day).

You might assume that the source of sabotage’s modern meaning is that the disgruntled would destroy property by throwing shoes at it (we know it’s way to express disrespect in Iraq, for example). I suspect a shoe in a factory machine would bung up the works pretty well. Sadly there’s no evidence on the whole shoe-chucking notion. Sabotage was used in French for all types of clumsiness – from wobbling along on wooden shoes to playing music badly. It’s reported in 1907 as being a workman’s way of protesting – instead of striking they would work badly, annoy customers, and cause a loss to their employer.

Grammar Phobia debunked the sabot throwing theory beautifully in this piece and adds the information that rural workers wearing sabots were sometimes mocked for being as clumsy and slow as their footwear. This led to sabotage being a type of “go slow” work protest in the late 1800s in France.

This was not the method in last night’s drama – no shoes were thrown, the saboteur preferred murder, causing a leak on a submarine, and releasing nerve gas in an enclosed space. I think I prefer the wobbly wooden shoe method of protest.

Until next time happy reading, writing, and wordfooling,

Grace (@Wordfoolery)

p.s. As I’ve mentioned before, my next Wordfoolery book will explore the origins of words associated with the Christmas season (and other mid-winter festivals too, of course). I’m at the “gathering candidate words” phase now and I’d love to get some suggestions from Wordfoolery readers. If you have a favourite Christmas word or one whose history intrigues you, drop it in a the comments below. As always, any “word donors” get their names in the acknowledgements section of the book. I have been asked if this book will be out in time for Christmas 2021. Sadly, not even Wordfoolery is that productive but I hope to launch in 2022.

Euneirophrenia and Sweet Dreams

Hello,

Welcome to the new subscribers and thanks to all who took part in the book launch last week. It feels great to finally have “Words the Vikings Gave Us” out in the world and landing on people’s shelves.

This week’s word is euneirophrenia and it comes with a word of warning. I stumbled across it on Pinterest and now I can’t find it in Websters, Collins, the OED, or Etymologyonline which makes me suspect this one is a recent creation for clicks and likes. However, it describes a state of being which I cannot name in any other way so there’s a need for this word. Perhaps it will catch on?

Euneirophrenia is the peaceful state of mind you achieve upon waking from pleasant dreams.

Ted woke from dreams of honey

A few online sources suggest euneirophrenia’s roots lie in Greek, eu (good), oneiro (dream), phrenia (state of mind) and I’d give that one about a 50% credibility grade. Yes, the prefix eu can be used that way. I found oneiromancy defined as “divination through dreams,” (in English since the 1600s) and it is formed from oneiro (dream) and mancy (divination) from Greek. You could even be an oneiromantis back then, an interpreter of dreams. That would be a fun on to put on your resume/cv.

Phrenia presents some issues though. The closest I could get was phrenic, an English adjective since the 1700s describing the diaphragm. It reached English via Latin phrenicus and Greek phren (the diaphragm muscle). Its etymology demonstrates neatly both my issues with euneirophrenia’s roots.

  1. Although theories abound about eating at night causing bad dreams you can’t really link “state of mind” directly to “diaphragm” without some major anatomical contortions.
  2. It is pretty rare to find a word in English that came directly from Greek without a clear story attached (a Greek myth, for example, or an object English borrowed from Greece). It is much more common for the word to have traveled to English via Latin and probably French or Italian as well.

I’ve found exceptions to this, of course, usually when somebody in the 1800s decided to coin a word and using their knowledge of schoolboy Greek compounded a few Greek words together to create a term. Honestly, I think euneirophrenia falls into this category. If anybody can provide any further information on its history or examples of its use earlier than the year 2000, then please comment below and I’ll update this post. If I’ve learned anything in 13 years of wordfooling here it is that it’s impossible to know everything about every word, and to be suspicious of cute obscure words on Pinterest posts.

I explored two other slumber related words previously on the blog – uhtceare and dormiveglia which you might also enjoy.

Before I finish, a couple of post-launch tidbits. The launch day competition for a necklace of replica Viking beads has closed. The winner was Nell Jenda and her prize has been dispatched.

The very lovely Dan and Shauna of Bunny Trails podcast had me on to chat about “Words the Vikings Gave Us” and you can listen to our chat here. Their enthusiasm is infectious and their podcast (available wherever you get your podcasts) about the origin of phrases is well worth a listen.

Also since my last blog, Sharon Bennett Connolly – author of four nonfiction books about Norman England and host of the brilliantly named History The Interesting Bits blog was kind enough to let me share a guest post titled “Six Misunderstandings about the Vikings”. She has had some great guests on the blog over the years so if you enjoy history I can definitely recommend spending some time scrolling over there.

I’ll let you know as they go live but brace yourselves because Wordfoolery is going on podcast tour this year with stops at The Endless Knot, Words for Granted, What in the Word, Lexitecture, and Mark Lestrange. Etymology is alive and well in the pod world.

Until next time happy reading, writing, and wordfooling,

Grace (@Wordfoolery)

Book Launch – Words the Vikings Gave Us

Hello,

Today’s the day – my latest etymology book, “Words the Vikings Gave Us” is now live and available to buy in paperback and ebook editions (all the buy links are here). If you’d like a signed copy you can order that directly from me.

If you’re a regular Wordfoolery reader, you’ll already know what to expect – the history and stories behind more than 300 words from akimbo to yule which we use in everyday English because we borrowed them from the Vikings and Old Norse. Words like kiss, ombudsman, bluetooth, frisbee, thing, and hustings. They’re drawn from ship life, Viking food, farming, norse romance, myths, politics, modern Vikings, anatomy, place names, daily life, and of course how to fight like a Viking.

I’m running a few extracts, Viking facts, and polls over on my Facebook and Twitter accounts today (14 September 2021) so if you’re on those, pop in and say Hi.

Competition Time!

The competition prize

I’m giving away a handmade Viking-style necklace today to celebrate my book “Words the Vikings Gave Us” launching into the world. It’s made with replica Viking glass beads. Viking raiders used to bring beads back home from their trips as gifts to their loved ones. Hence the more beads, the more status.

To enter, reply to this post with proof of book purchase or email grace [at] gracetierney [dot] com.

The competition is open worldwide and closes at 20:00 (GMT+1) 14 Sep 2021

The winner will be announced here on the blog, on Twitter, and on Facebook. Readers who have bought signed copies are in the hat, so you don’t need to message me. If you win I’ll be touch for your address.

Don’t worry, the blog with be back to “normal” next week, chatting about the history of unusual words. I’ll also have news about some word history blogs as several have been kind enough to invite me on for a chat about Viking words.

Until next time happy reading, writing, and wordfooling,

Grace (@Wordfoolery)

Birth, Scoff, and Sky – a Trio of Old Norse Words

Hello,

After recording an interview about “Words the Vikings Gave Us” with the wonderful Dan and Shauna of the Bunny Trails podcast yesterday (I’ll let you know when it’s available for listening) I’m getting that “oh wow, I’m launching a book tomorrow” feeling inside today – one part excitement and three parts terror. If Vikings can set sail into unexplored oceans in a small wooden boat, I guess I can cope with a book launch, right?

To get us all in the mood, here are three short words from the book – birth, scoff (a favourite word of mine), and sky. I hope you enjoy them.

{Three extracts from “Words the Vikings Gave Us” by Grace Tierney, copyright 2021}

Birth

We get the word for childbirth and the fact of being born from the Old Norse word byrdr. In Middle English birth was sometimes even used to describe the conception of a child. The suffix –th in this word is to indicate the word is for a process (like death, growth, strength, and even bath).

Scoff

Scoff, in the sense of mocking or making light of something, has been in English since the 1300s. It arrived from Old Norse skaup or skop (mockery or ridicule) and can also be seen in skof (Middle Danish). They may have their roots in the Proto-Germanic terms skuf, which also provides scop, the Old English word for poet.

Sunset, Wexford harbour, Ireland

Sky

The English word for sky is a direct import of the Old Norse word for cloud. What this tells us about the weather in Viking countries versus the British Isles is debatable.

The original Saxon word would have been heofen, which is related to the idea of Heaven. In Middle English sky was used interchangeably for the concept of a religious heaven and for the upper regions of the air above us. By the 1800s and 1900s sky had given us other airy ideas such as sky-high (1812), the sky’s the limit (1908), sky dive (1965), and even sky writing (1922).

{end of extract}

You might be wondering what’s happening at the book launch tomorrow. I’ve had a few questions about the availability of free booze already (sorry, that’s a no). With the times we are in, my own preference to hide behind a large stack of books, and the fact that Wordfoolery readers are scattered all around the globe I’m going with a virtual book launch day again – starting around 09:00 (GMT+1) and running through until about 20:00. If you can join in for some of it you’ll be very welcome. If you can’t, most of it will be online afterwards and you can explore at your leisure.

What’s in the day? Behind the scenes I’ll be firing off press releases with a sense of glorious abandon and updating every social profile I possess (yes, I’m on too many platforms, I know). For lovely readers I’ll be posting two Viking polls, sharing extracts and fun Viking facts, thanking my word donors, and running a competition. I’ll raise a Viking toast at the end of the day to celebrate my book being out in the world, sailing around in its little longship, hopefully conquering new worlds. Most events will be running on my Twitter and Facebook pages, plus a post or two here on the blog.

Wordfoolery will chatting about the book on Sinéad Brassil’s morning show on LMFM radio in Ireland on the 15th of September and I’ll also be appearing on a few podcasts and blogs over the coming days and weeks, I’ll let you know about those as they go live.

All the details on where to buy the book are here.

Until next time happy reading, writing, and wordfooling,

Grace (@Wordfoolery)

The Word Slang has Viking Roots

Hello,

I have my Viking hat on at the moment, as I prepare to launch “Words the Vikings Gave Us” on 14th September 2021 and I’ve chosen another Viking word this week, slang. I hope you enjoy it.

Slang {extract from “Words the Vikings Gave Us”, copyright Grace Tierney 2021}

Any writer on the topic of language will encounter the evolution of words from slang to mainstream phrases, and often the reverse process, but the origin of the word slang itself is worthy of study too.

Slang appeared in mainstream English around 1756 to denote the special vocabulary of “tramps or thieves” but by 1801 it was being used for the jargon associated with any particular profession and shortly thereafter it had the meaning it retains today – that of vivid, novel, informal language.

Slang changes almost daily, particularly amongst teens who’d die rather than admit their parental generation might understand their secret language because once they were young too (gasp!). Niche groups, group activities, incoming languages from visitors and migrants combine with pop culture to add new slang words to the dictionary. Some thrive, some die.

It’s very appropriate then that slang itself came with a group of incomers who weren’t approved of by mainstream society – the Vikings. Old Norse had the word slangi (tramp) and slangr (the straying of sheep). Norwegian has slenge (hang loose, dangle) and Danish has slaenge (to sling) plus derived words relating to a gang of people.

From those Scandinavian roots we get the northern England dialect word slang to describe a narrow piece of land running between other larger parcels of land. This led to the idea of slang patter (patter meaning talk in this case) which was associated with such lands.

This slang patter became linked over time with the people who lived on the slang lands, perhaps roving traders who camped there. Their colourful sales pitches and often rough language were the origin of slang in English.

One wonderful related American English word, slangwhanger (1807), hasn’t survived and really should be revived. It meant a noisy or abusive writer or talker.

{end of extract}

Sadly I didn’t unearth any Viking slang words during my research for the book but I have included the Norse origins of snub, scold, and scoff which might put readers on the right track to verbally abusing a Viking. Whether that’s a wise course of action is not for me to say. Just remember they also gave us anger, bash, club, gun, hit, knife and die.

If you’re interested in Viking history you may enjoy my new download “Nine Things You Never Knew About Vikings”. To access that just click on the Downloads tab on the menu or through this link.

Want a copy of the book? All the details on where to buy the book are here.

Until next time happy reading, writing, and wordfooling,

Grace (@Wordfoolery)

We Know Vikings Weren’t Lawless, Thanks to the Dictionary

Hello,

I have my Viking hat on at the moment, as I prepare to launch “Words the Vikings Gave Us” on 14th September 2021, so I’ve chosen another Viking word to play with this week. I hope you enjoy it.

Law {extract from “Words the Vikings Gave Us”, copyright Grace Tierney 2021}

Law was spelled as lagu in Old English and was defined as a rule, regulation, or right. It came into the English language from the Old Norse word lagu (laws plural). Lagu wasn’t used much in Old English where the alternative word ae was more common, however over time it became the dominant word and we’re still using law instead of ae today.

Laws govern a wide variety of rules and rights in society and the sciences. For example you have the laws of physics since the 1660s, laying down the law (in this case biblical law pronounced from the pulpit) from the 1750s, and law and order have been linked from the late 1700s.

As the systems of politics and the courts grew there were laws to cover everything from the poor laws (to provide for paupers from the pockets of wealthy landowners), bylaws (another Viking donation to the English language), corn laws, traffic laws, tax laws, and many more but it all started with the Vikings, despite being rebuked by the native English as being lawless.

{end of extract}

Yes, Vikings gave us the word law. In fact, they gave us so many words in the area of power and politics that I dedicated a chapter to the topic. Writing the book provided many surprises like that. The Vikings are a misunderstood group.

If you’re interested in Viking history you may enjoy my new download “Nine Things You Never Knew About Vikings”. To access that just click on the Downloads tab on the menu or through this link.

Want a copy of the book? Pre-order on Kindle or Kobo and it will download automatically to your ebook reader on the 14th. Paperbacks will go live on the same date and signed copies will be available directly from me soon (I’ll post the link).

If you are a book blogger/reviewer/podcaster (or know one, please share!) then get in touch via Twitter or my About page for a digital ARC or interview requests etc. I’m always happy to talk about the history of words, and Vikings.

Until next time happy reading, writing, and wordfooling,

Grace (@Wordfoolery)

Vikings Gave Us the Word for Hugging

Hello,

Today the pre-orders on Kindle and Kobo open for my latest Wordfoolery book – “Words the Vikings Gave Us” (launching in ebook and paperback editions on 14 September 2021) so I reckon it’s time to look at a Viking word here on the blog.

I could have gone with a fighting word (berserk or ransack), a political word (hustings or ombudsman), or a modern Viking word like kindle (yes, the reading device is named with Old Norse in mind), plogging, or bluetooth (there’s a Viking king behind that one) but when I was writing the book the thing (another Viking word) which most surprised me was how many romantic words (hug, kiss, honeymoon, handfast, and husband for example) have their roots in Viking culture and their language, Old Norse.

Hug {extract from “Words the Vikings Gave Us”, copyright Grace Tierney 2021}

The word hug is, sadly, a relatively late addition to the English dictionary. It arrived in the 1560s and was spelled as hugge, at least initially. It’s believed to have come from the Old Norse word hugga which translates beautifully as “to comfort”.

Hugga itself comes from hugr (courage, mood) and is from a Proto-Germanic root which also gives us hycgan (to think or consider) in Old English and the name Hugh. There may also be a link to the German verb hegen (to foster or cherish). Hegen originally meant “to enclose with a hedge” but while a hedge may enclose or cherish livestock, the Old Norse idea of comforting is closest to what a hug means today.

{end of extract}

In the run up to the book launch (14th of Septmber) I’ll be blogging about Viking words here but if you’re interested in Viking history you may enjoy my new download “Nine Things You Never Knew About Vikings”. To access that just click on the Downloads tab on the menu or through this link. In it I explain why we all think Vikings wore horned helmets (spoiler, they didn’t), how they beat Columbus to North America by a few centuries, and ruled parts of Britain for longer than the Romans. Oh yeah, and the current Danish royal family are descended from them too. I couldn’t overwhelm the word book with Viking history but some of the stories were simply too good to exclude so they ended up in the download, which is completely free, by the way.

If you’re interested in pre-ordering a digital copy of “Words the Vikings Gave Us” you can do so via Kindle and Kobo worldwide. The Kindle US pre-order link is here. It’s around the $2.99/€2.99 price everywhere. It will download automatically to your ebook reader on the 14th. Paperbacks will go live on the same date and signed print copies will be available directly from me nearer the time. Don’t worry, I’ll post the links once I have them live.

If you are a book blogger/reviewer/podcaster (or know one, please share!) then get in touch via Twitter or my About page for a digital ARC or interview requests etc. I’m always happy to talk about the history of words.

Until next time happy reading, writing, and wordfooling,

Grace (@Wordfoolery)