AN AUDACIOUS POST
Yet another requested word, audacity has a curious back story. Currently meaning "bold to the point of disrespectfulness", the farthest back it can be traced to is in Proto-Italic awideo, meaning "greedy". Thus you can see neither the definition nor the spelling has deviated in abnormal quantities from the original, a curious occurrence and all the more interesting in the world of etymology. After these primordial languages condensed into Latin, the word audacia was created, meaning "daring" or "bold". This was modified into the word audace "boldness", which eventually became French audacieux. I would like to take a second to note the etymological transition from a pejorative sense in the original proto-language to a linguistically positive meaning; from greedy to brave. This would soon take another sharp swing back to the negative with the English word audacity (and meant to describe the annoying, Harry Potter-like quality of being too brave, to the point of irritation), a full circle from "greedy" to "brave" and back to "disrespectful".
12/15/2016 11:36:04 am
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Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic. This year, I graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Government and Linguistics. There, I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society and wrote a thesis on Serbo-Croatian language policy, magna cum laude. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.