words: etymology as a criterion discussion

The word fairy

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message 1: by Gina (new)

Gina (pindaregirl) | 17 comments Mod

The words fey and faerie came to English from French and, ultimately, Latin. The Latin root fata, meaning fate in the sense of one of the Parcae, is an indication that fey have abilities associated with knowledge (foresight) and manipulation (luck, blessing, cursing) of fate, both of which are qualities of faeries in myth.

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Fata influenced modern Italian's fada and Spanish's hada, both of which mean fey, and the Old French fée, which gained the meaning "enchanter." By adding the ending -rie, we get féerie, meaning a "state of fée" or "enchantment." This also befits fey, who are known for casting illusions and altering emotions, particularly so as to make themselves alluring, frightening, or unseen.

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Modern English inherited the two terms "fey" and "fairy," along with all the associations attached to them. Since the subjects of the words are somewhat alien and ethereal, the terms are often used interchangeably and have no standardized spellings. Common ones include the following:

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* Fey: Fae and Fay
* Fairy: Faerie, Fairie, Faery

message 2: by Maggie (new)

Maggie (maggietoussaint) | 1 comments Hi Gina,
I so enjoyed your post on the words Fey/Fairy. It is very interesting to me that through time people have ascribed a mythic quality to fate, while at the same time developed a fear/awe of those who have access to this knowledge.

message 3: by Rosemary (new)

Rosemary Gina, thank you so much for the insights into fairies! I enjoyed your post.

message 4: by Gina (new)

Gina (pindaregirl) | 17 comments Mod
and i wanted to add A RAG explanation:
rag (n.)
c.1310, probably from O.N. rogg "shaggy tuft," earlier raggw-, or possibly from O.Dan. rag (see rug), or a back-formation from ragged (c.1300), which is from O.N. raggaðr "shaggy," via O.E. raggig "rag-like." It also may represent an unrecorded O.E. cognate of O.N. rogg. As an insulting term for "newspaper, magazine" it dates from 1734; slang for "tampon, sanitary napkin" is attested from 1930s. Rags "personal clothing" is from 1855, Amer.Eng. Rags-to-riches "rise from poverty to wealth" is attested from 1947. Ragtop "convertible car" is from 1955. Raghead, insulting term for "South Asian or Middle Eastern person," first attested 1921.

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