Monday, August 25, 2014
Word of the Week - Pigment
My kids made me look this one up the other day, wondering if pig and pigment were related...giving that Xoe's been studying base words and prefixes and suffixes, this is a logical question. =)
So away to www.etymonline.com I went. To discover that, as I suspected, no. Pigment is not from the same root as pig.
Pigment, as it happens, comes from the pigmentum, meaning "color matter, paint." Pretty much what I expected. It comes in turn from the Latin verb pingere, meaning "to paint."
Pig, on the other hand, has obscure roots. It existed in Old English, but the experts think it might have been borrowed from the German or Dutch word for swine, which was big/bigge. They seem to agree that it was originally spelled with a B.
Interestingly, some of the nicknames for a pig--porker, grunter--came about because sailors' superstitions forbade them from uttering the word "pig" while at sea! Can't say as I knew that one, LOL.