Re: [tied] Re: An odd etymology

From: Brian M. Scott
Message: 32736
Date: 2004-05-19

At 7:09:21 AM on Tuesday, May 18, 2004, tgpedersen wrote:

> One more thing about Greek <pelekus> "axe" etc: English
> has <pole-axe>, which has nothing to do with a pole.

Indeed; it's a 'head-axe' (<poll> 'crown of the head').

> Danish has <bol-økse>, which has little to do with <bol>
> "tree trunk".

Middle Danish had <polöxe>, according to the OED, from MLG
<polexe>. The 'head' word appears to exist (or have
existed) at least in English, Dutch, Low German, Swedish
(dialect), and Danish (<puld>) [OED s.v. <poll>].

> Imitating Vennemann's method, I think I'll propose that
> these two words are folk etymology reinterpretations of
> the original, corresponding to <pelekus> etc.

That would require at least two stages of folk

> Is the stressed suffix (also in Engl. <moráss>, Da.
> <morads>, supposedly from Germanic *mar(a)-isko > Fr
> marais) then much older?

The immediate source is Middle Dutch, which got it from Old
French. OFr <maresc>, <mareis> will have had stress on the
final syllable; all that's required is for the borrowings to
have preserved the final stress.