From: Bob Smith
Sent: Sunday, March 04, 2012 2:58 PM
Subject: Re: [RedHotJazz] Re: George Filhe (was Oscar 'Bernie' Young)
> I wonder if the French name 'Filhe' has been anglicized to 'filly' meaning
> (colloquially) 'a lively young girl'?
Could have been, but I think not. I did not know the old-fashioned and
familiar use, only "filly" as the female a colt.
And although the spelling "Filhé" has a good chance to be a corruption of
the singular nominative (subject) ending of "Filhes" in "Langue d'Oc" (the
language used by the troubadours in the Southern part of France, which had
Latin roots and gave birth to several local vernaculars), it seems that the
early (ca. 1400) use of "filly" derives from the old Norvegian word "fylja",
itself the feminine form of "foli" already meaning "foal", while the sense
of "young girl" is from the 1610's, if I can trust
A seriously off-topic digression I know, but I am thinking of Henriette
Walter's "Hon(n)ni soit qui mal y pense", a fascinating book about the early
relationships between French and English, which reveals that both languages
did not only borrow a lot from each other over the centuries, but nearly
"grew up together" from the start. Which also means that even in the case of
obvious Latin origins (like "filiation"), the word may just as well have
bypassed French while permeating what was not quite English yet.