Posted by: episystechpubs | January 14, 2016

Editor’s Corner: Glamour and Grammar

Luckily, it seems many of us enjoy hearing about where English words originated. Today’s word combination from Words of a Feather: A Humorous Puzzlement of Etymological Pairs, by Murray Suid is a super-whammy: it’s glamour and grammar!

Glamour and Grammar

Grammar—the study of how words work together to make sense—can be fascinating. But few people—including grammarians—would call grammar a glamorous activity. And yet, the two words are intimately connected in terms of etymology.

Grammar traces back to the ancient Greek gramma, “letter,” which relates to another Greek word graphein, “to draw or write.” The gramophone, an early sound recording and playback device, was a “writer of sound.”

But back to grammar: Over the centuries, the word took on the meaning of “learning,” especially sophisticated learning. Eventually, grammar included the mastery of magic and other amazing subjects. [KC – No wonder so many call us editors “witches.” Or is it something else?]

In the eighteenth century, as it came to denote the study of the occult, grammar spawned glamour. While grammar stayed behind as the term for more traditional studies, glamour continue its semantic evolution, eventually coming to mean things that were magical, mysterious, and, finally, in the nineteenth century, alluring.

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

Symitar Documentation Services

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