Monday, August 19, 2013

Word of the Week - Student and Pupil


It's the first day of school in our house, and the kids are rather excited. (Don't worry, it'll fade, LOL.) Their desks are organized (that won't last either...), they made their "1st Day of..." signs last night for pictures this morning, picked out their outfits (no reason why homeschoolers shouldn't have that joy too!), and demanded I wake them up early. Gotta love eager little students. =)

And I thought that today, I'd take a quick look at some school-related words in keeping with the occasion.

Student is an old one, from the 14th century. It comes to us from the French estudient, "one who studies," which is directly from the Latin studiare, "to study." No surprises there. Interestingly, student teacher didn't join in until 1907, which is, I think, more a reflection of the educational and training system than language.

But I wanted to look up pupil too. I think to us, this word has fallen out of fashion and so sounds old-fashioned. So I was intrigued to see that while just as old as student, it didn't have its current meaning nearly as long. Pupil literally means "orphan child, ward." This too is taken from French and Latin and is a diminutive of the word for "boy." It took about 200 years for the "student" meaning to come along. Which, yes, was still way back in 1560, LOL. But I didn't realize it had ever meant anything else.

Now off to get some work done before my little students arise. ;-)

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