This is a little sneak peak of my upcoming infographic! I had to include the etymology of argon because it's so fascinating and I want to explain it more. My usual sources, and many etymologists, disagree on this subject. All of them do concur that it stems from the Greek word argon, a neuter of argos, meaning "lazy". This makes sense, because as a noble gas, argon interacts very little and is therefore "lazy". This is where the opinions diverge. The theory I am partial to is that this can be traced back to the Ancient Greek word ergon, "work", which along with the prefix a- would mean "not working". This theory would trace back to the PIE word werg, translated as "to do" (obviously the forerunner of today's word work and somehow that of organ). The second school of thought trace this to an older word, argos, which was defined as "bright" (and this supposedly makes sense because no one would work if it was bright out? I like the other idea better; and it's more whimsical). This word, which definitely existed, came from PIE herg, or "white". A third, loony idea, connects this to Proto-Georgian and the Mingrellian root egr, concerning that which no one can figure out. Most mysterious!
Adam Aleksic is a 220-month-old, 2800-ounce high school senior with disturbing interests in etymology, vexillology, geography, board games, limericks, and law. Adam will be studying linguistics at Harvard College in the fall.
The Etymology Nerd