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".
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a rising junior 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.