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12050Re: [Czechlist] Address - origin?

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  • Simon Vaughan
    Jul 31, 2002
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      Hello, Trudie & Jamie!

      > > I suddenly realised I don't know where the word ADDRESS came
      > > from and why it has two pairs of double letters.
      > According to Webster's New World Dictionary, the etymology (in reverse
      > order)
      > goes like this:
      > Miiddle English "adressen", to guide or direct
      > Old French "adresser" (a- meaning "to" + dresser)
      > "dresser" is from Vulgar Latin "directiare" meaning to direct, which is
      > from Latin "dirigere"
      > You can see that the double D is not original. My guess as to its origin
      > is that it was added in the 18th or 19th century in the mistaken belief
      > that it was originally there and got lost. Whoever did this would have
      > believed that the "a-" at the beginning must have originated as the Latin
      > word "ad" and then decided there should be two D's there, one from "ad"
      > and one from "dresser".

      According to the entry for the prefix ad- in the New Shorter Oxford English
      Dictionary, the second d was there 'originally', i.e. in the Latin source
      for the French word: ad + directum. Interestingly, the Romanian and Italian
      versions of the word retain the double d.

      The Latinization of the English word apparently took place as early as the
      fourteenth century.

      ad- /ad, unstressed @d/ prefix

      1 Representing Latin 'ad' preposition 'to', with sense of motion to or
      direction towards, addition, adherence, increase. The d was assimilated to
      following c, f, g, l, n, p, q, r, s, t (see ac-, af-, etc.); ad- was reduced
      to a- before sc, sp, st (see a-8). In Old French the double consonant of
      acc-, add-, etc., were reduced to single ones, and adv- became av-, and Old
      French words were adopted with such forms in English; but in the 14th
      century these began to be refashioned after Latin, as 'address'. Opposite to
      ab- away from, as in adaxial, abaxial, ad- is recent.

      2 At the same time ad- was substituted for a- of different origin, as in
      advance, addebted, admiral.

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