The Origins of These 3 Bizarrely Spelled English Words

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The Origins of These 3 Bizarrely Spelled English Words

incorrect-pronunciations

English is linguistically categorized as a West Germanic language. Though it is now the most widely spoken language in the world, English actually got a pretty small start.

Throughout history, English has being influenced by a number of different languages and is commonly known as a “borrowing language.” The bizarre spelling of these three common English words aptly illustrate this fascinating phenomena:


February

Have you ever wondered why February has that random, silent first r?

Well, February, like the names of most months, has Latin roots. It descended from Februarius, a month in the ancient Roman calendar. The name actually comes from the festival of februum, a purification ritual celebrated during the month.

The ancient Roman calendar was eventually reformed by Julius Cesar in 46 BC. This new Julian calendar, which divided the year into 365 days and twelve months, is the foundation of our current Gregorian calendar.


Wednesday

Most Americans don’t pronounce the d in Wednesday. But just because you can’t hear it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. So where did this d come from? And why don’t we pronounce it?

As it turns out, Wednesday actually has Germanic linguistic origins. It is derived from the Old English word, Wōdnesdæg, which honors the Germanic god Wodan.

Interestingly, Wōdnesdæg evolved to Wednesdei in the transition from Old English to Middle English, possibly because of the increased linguistic influence from French. Anyway, considering that there has been a d in Wednesday for roughly the past two thousand years, it probably isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Furthermore, most Brits actually do pronounce the d in Wednesday.


Pterodactyl

The name of an ancient flying reptile, this might just be the weirdest spelling in the entire English language. This word is actually of Greek origin, coming from pteron (wing) and daktylos (finger).

So why the references to wings and fingers? Well, the name actually refers to the unique way in which this reptile’s wings are supported by its fingers. Go figure!

What are your favorite bizarrely spelled words in the English language?


Adapted from Grammarly