This week’s word is paradise, with thanks to Qi who mentioned on a recent edition that it was a word the Persians gave us (along with chess and mummies, if you’re curious). Paradise is used now as a word for an ideal place, and in religious terms it can be the Garden of Eden in the Bible or a heavenly abode for the worthy after death.
I suspect that if you asked a hundred people to describe paradise, you would get a hundred different answers, but thanks to the Persians we have a word history answer available, regardless of your beliefs, or lack thereof. Paradise is a walled garden.
Paradise is an Old English word which entered the language from Old French paradis thanks to the Norman invasion (1066 and all that). The French had it from Late Latin paradisus (park, orchard, garden to Eden) who grabbed it from the Greek paradeisos. The Greeks had borrowed it from an Iranian source avestan pairidaeza (enclosure or park). Pairidaeza is formed from pairi (around) and diz (to make a wall) so the core of the word paradise is the fact that it is a walled place, an enclosure of land.
The Greeks used it to describe an enclosed royal hunting ground in Persia and the name attached itself to the idea of the Garden of Eden in English around 1200, and as a description of Muslim heaven from about 1400.
As a garden-lover I like the idea of paradise being a walled garden, filled with blooms, and buzzing with bees, beautiful scents, and bird song. I’m hoping I won’t have to do any weeding though. Perhaps I could sit back and read a good book instead.
Until next time happy reading, writing, and wordfooling