The word queer is interesting in that it used to be a really offensive insult towards homosexuals, but has recently been reclaimed by the LGBTQ+ community. Of course, it depends largely on context, but it's a wholesome example of how words can experience semantic shift. There's also some change from when the word was first borrowed in the late fifteenth to early sixteenth century, as well: queer used to mean "eccentric or peculiar" only, just as with the parallel definition existing today. Through Scots, this comes from Middle Low German word queer, meaning "off-center" (hence the "abnormal" connotations to the word) and deriving from Old High German twerh, meaning "slanting". Even further back, twerh morphs into Proto-Germanic thwerhaz, which carried a definition of either "cross" or "adverse" and traces to the Proto-Indo-European reconstruction terk, meaning "to turn".
Adam Aleksic is a 221-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 University in the fall.
The Etymology Nerd