Daffodils look very little like asphodels, but etymologically they're the same thing. The current form of the word daffodil was coined in the 1590s. Before that, it meant asphodel; the two were often compared and the defintion was not separated until then. That comes from the Middle English word affodil (the starting letter d is probably from the Dutch word for "the", de, because they would refer to the flowers as de affodil and eventually those two words joined together) and can be traced to Latin asphodelus, still referring to the asphodel flower. In Ancient Greece, a place where asphodels had religious importance, it was something like asphodelos, and nobody knows where that came from, but Proto-Indo-European is probably a safe guess. The word asphodel in its current form is from the Latin word, as its only synonym was gradually taken over by that new meaning.
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