Sunday, 29 May 2022

Synonym Etymologies J

Continuing the look at synonyms through the eyes of the etymologist, this time it is the letter J and jump. The etymology of 'jump' is difficult to see, although it seems most often to be said to be related to a Gallo-Roman dialect word jumba 'to rock' or yumpa with the same meaning. This is largely based on the assumption the word was brought back to England following the Hundred Years War. Swedish gumpa 'to spring' and German gampen 'to hop' have been shown to be unrelated. Interesting to note that 'jump' as a euphemism for sexual intercourse dates from as early as 1630.

Leap is a very Germanic word and can be traced, and through nearly all Germanic languages, to the Proto-Germanic hlaupan. It is easy to see how other Germanic tongues have used this root to refer to 'running', Dutch lopen, Old Norse hlaupa, Old Frisian hlapa, Old Saxon hlopan being just a few examples. This is clearly the origin of the English word 'lope', a running gait with long strides. Note that 'leap' has been connected to 'bound' since at least 1720 and a fact which leads nicely on to the next word.

Bound came to English from Old French bondir, which was originally used to mean 'rebound' but more in the sense of 'echo' or even simply making a noise like the blare of a trumpet. Note that 'bomb' is from a similar root.

Hop is another of Germanic roots, words in Old Norse, Dutch, German, and Old English all ultimately from Proto-Germanic hupnojan with the same meaning. Note we were never 'hopping mad' before 1838, and research also revealed a stew of bacon, rice and peas known as Hopping-John from 1838.

Spring is also from a Proto-Germanic root, where sprengan has the same meaning. In fact all Germanic languages use 'spring' to refer to leaping upwards, and is the reason why the early growing season is known by the same word.

Bounce has been used in the modern sense since 1510, but also existed prior to that to mean 'thump, hit', which is almost what a ball does when it bounces.

Prance originated as a word describing horses in high mettle, and only used to refer to a strutting or bouncing gait from the late 18th century.

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