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Today's Word "Brook"

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Published in Vocabulary

brook \brUk (verb) - To put up with or stand for; to tolerate.

"Rick will brook any amount of nonsense as long as his girlfriend keeps his number on speed-dial."

 

Today's word is a homonym of brook "creek or stream," but the two come to us by different etymological paths. The "creek" version derives from Middle English and Old English "broc." "Broc" is related to the Old High German bruoh "marshy ground." The "tolerate" version is from Middle English "brouken," from Old English brucan "to use, to enjoy." This word is akin to German brauchen "to need," and Latin fruor, fructus "to enjoy." They share an ancestor in Proto-Indo-European bhrug-. Grimm's Law, a guiding principle in linguistics, tells us that PIE initial bh converts regularly to "f" in Latin, e.g. English "bear" : Latin "fero" [I carry, bear], "brother" : "frater", etc.

 

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