AN ETYMOLOGICAL IMBROGLIO
Imbroglio is a rather beautiful word describing a complicated, often embarrassing situation. That particular meaning was metaphorically applied in 1818, but since the word's first application in 1750 till then, it meant something more like "jumble". The term, as you can see just by looking at it, is Italian, where it meant "tangle". Now that we know that, we can eliminate the prefix -im, which was a generally useful affix that meant "into", "upon", "in", "on", or just denoted derivation for verbs. The root is broglio, meaning "confusion". That's most likely from Middle French brouiller, which is also the etymon of embroil. Due to a connection between confusion and mixing things up, that's reconstructed as coming from a Proto-Germanic root for "broth", brutha, which would be from Proto-Indo-European bhreu, "to boil".
1/30/2021 12:24:38 pm
Do you have any links between brutha, bhreu, and brouhaha?
11/4/2021 07:47:15 am
More colloquially it means a bloody great mess. And it rhymes with 'Bergoglio'.
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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.