This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.



Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Thing Not To Be Today: awkward

Well, the thing is, what is an awk?

It's a word no longer heard much in polite - or any other - society, but it's been English since the 1400s. The latest reference to anyone using it in my OED is What we have hitherto spoken will seem to have less of auk in it, which is from N Fairfax's 1674 best-selling A treatise on the bulk and selvedge of the world wherein the greatness, littleness and lastingness of bodies is freely handled.

We've also sadly lost the words awkly (which could mean left-handed) and awkness.

They all mean things to do with wrong, perverse, irrational, inept - and, of course, awkward - and they're all words way overdue for a comeback as far as I'm concerned.


Thing Not To Be Today: awkward. The ward bit of this word is the same idea as is found in forwards, that is, in that direction. Awk probably comes from the Old Norse afug, which means turned the wrong way round.


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