ArcaMax -- Which Words Share a Common Lineage?

Rob Kyff on

Is "spray," meaning "an arrangement of flowers," related to "spray," meaning "particles of water"?

Because flowers are often spread out in a pattern resembling a shower or fountain, you might think so. But the flower "spray," which first appeared in Middle English during the 1200s, is unrelated to the liquid "spray," which came into English from the Middle Dutch "sprayen" (to sprinkle) in the 1600s.

Which of these word pairs derive from the same source?

1. Stalk (part of a plant) and stalk (track stealthily).

2. Trip (a journey) and trip (a stumble).

3. Bulldog (a canine) and bull (a bovine).


4. Fiddle (violin) and fiddle (to spend time in aimless activity, meddle).

5. Pest (an annoying person or creature) and pester (to harass).

6. Ledger (a book containing records or accounts) and ledge (a narrow surface or shelf).

Answers and explanations:


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