The word maze has amazing origins! Literally. It comes from the Middle English word mase, which was an alternate spelling of masen, meaning "perplex" or "bewilder". That comes from Old English amasen, which had the same definition and is also the source of the word amazing. Officially, amasen has an uncertain etymology, but there are a lot of random Norse words that are thought to possible be cognates, such as Icelandic masa ("chatter"), Norwegian mas ("exhausting labor" or "nagging"), and Swedish masa ("to be slow"), so it's thought to possibnly be from a Proto-Germanic root sounding something like masona and meaning "to confound" or "to be weary". Finally, that's reconstructed back to the Proto-Indo-European root sme, meaning "to rub". According to Google NGram Viewer, usage of the word maze peaked in 2014 for some reason.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.