Monday, October 20, 2014

Word of the Week - Perk

Today's word comes to us by me literally clicking on a random letter at www.EtymOnline.com and then a random page within said letter and scrolling down until something caught my eye. ;-) The lucky word was perk.
The first meaning of perk in English came from Old North French and meant "to make oneself trim or sharp." From the late 1300s, this word was inspired by preening birds--the French word it's taken from means "perch."

By the 1520s, it had expanded to mean "to raise oneself briskly." Interestingly, the term perk up didn't follow for another 140 years (language changed so much more slowly back then!)

The verb that we use for how we make our coffee is actually a shortened, altered form of percolate, which is completely unrelated, and came around in 1934.

The noun form, as in "a highlight or bonus" is from 1869, another shortened, altered form--this time of perquisite, a mid-15th century word from Latin that means "profit, thing gained." Yeah, I had no clue about that one!

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