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Re: [tied] Needfire

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  • 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 1 of 3 , Feb 19, 2013
         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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