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Needfire

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  • ceisiwr_serith
    I m not finding a reliable etymology for needfire in any of my sources or on-line. I ve found two, the first being the obvious, with need meaning
    Message 1 of 3 , Feb 19, 2013
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         I'm not finding a reliable etymology for "needfire" in any of my sources or on-line.  I've found two, the first being the obvious, with "need" meaning "need," and the second relating it to "knead," as in a fire created by friction. 
         Can anybody help?
       
      David Fickett-Wilbar
    • Brian M. Scott
      ... I don t know whether you have access to the on-line OED; its entry for is from September 2003. In case you haven t, the etymology given is the
      Message 2 of 3 , Feb 19, 2013
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        At 11:26:59 AM on Tuesday, February 19, 2013, ceiserith@... wrote:

        > I'm not finding a reliable etymology for "needfire" in any
        > of my sources or on-line. I've found two, the first being
        > the obvious, with "need" meaning "need," and the second
        > relating it to "knead," as in a fire created by friction.

        I don't know whether you have access to the on-line OED; its
        entry for <needfire> is from September 2003. In case you
        haven't, the etymology given is the obvious one. The rest
        of the etymological note reads as follows:

        Compare German Notfeuer, †Nothfeuer in senses 2 and 3.
        With sense 2 compare also Middle Low German nōtvūr (German
        regional (Low German) Notfüer), Middle High German
        nōtviur; compare also Norwegian (Nynorsk) naudeld,
        (Bokmål) naudeld, naueld, nødeld, etc., Swedish
        (regional) nödeld, (see eld n.1), and Scottish Gaelic
        teine-éigin (< teine fire + éigin force, necessity). With
        sense 3 compare also Old Saxon niedfyr, niedfeor, neidfyr,
        nōdfiur.

        It is unclear whether the semantic parallels for senses 3
        and, more strikingly, sense 2 should be taken as
        indicating that the English word is much earlier than its
        earliest attestations would suggest, or whether instead in
        these senses it is in fact a calque on a form in another
        language. Sense 1 does not appear to be attested outside
        English.

        Sense †1: Sc. Spontaneous combustion. In early use only in
        to take needfire . Also fig. Obs.

        Sense 2: Fire obtained from dry wood by means of violent
        friction, formerly credited with various magical
        properties, esp. in protecting cattle from disease.

        Sense 3: A beacon, a bonfire.

        Brian
      • ceisiwr_serith
        Thanks. Knead sounded too clever, and one of the rules of etymology that I ve observed is that the more clever the explanation, the less likely it is to
        Message 3 of 3 , Feb 19, 2013
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             Thanks.  "Knead" sounded too clever, and one of the rules of etymology that I've observed is that the more clever the explanation, the less likely it is to be true.
           
          David Fickett-Wilbar
           
          In a message dated 2/19/2013 11:36:03 A.M. Eastern Standard Time, bm.brian@... writes:
           

          At 11:26:59 AM on Tuesday, February 19, 2013, ceiserith@... wrote:

          > I'm not finding a reliable etymology for "needfire" in any
          > of my sources or on-line. I've found two, the first being
          > the obvious, with "need" meaning "need," and the second
          > relating it to "knead," as in a fire created by friction.

          I don't know whether you have access to the on-line OED; its
          entry for is from September 2003. In case you
          haven't, the etymology given is the obvious one. The rest
          of the etymological note reads as follows:

          Compare German Notfeuer, †Nothfeuer in senses 2 and 3.
          With sense 2 compare also Middle Low German nōtvūr (German
          regional (Low German) Notfüer), Middle High German
          nōtviur; compare also Norwegian (Nynorsk) naudeld,
          (Bokmål) naudeld, naueld, nødeld, etc., Swedish
          (regional) nödeld, (see eld n.1), and Scottish Gaelic
          teine-éigin (< teine fire + éigin force, necessity). With
          sense 3 compare also Old Saxon niedfyr, niedfeor, neidfyr,
          nōdfiur.

          It is unclear whether the semantic parallels for senses 3
          and, more strikingly, sense 2 should be taken as
          indicating that the English word is much earlier than its
          earliest attestations would suggest, or whether instead in
          these senses it is in fact a calque on a form in another
          language. Sense 1 does not appear to be attested outside
          English.

          Sense †1: Sc. Spontaneous combustion. In early use only in
          to take needfire . Also fig. Obs.

          Sense 2: Fire obtained from dry wood by means of violent
          friction, formerly credited with various magical
          properties, esp. in protecting cattle from disease.

          Sense 3: A beacon, a bonfire.

          Brian

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