We all experience anger from time to time, but few of us are aware of the many menacing words it spawned. Anger as a noun came from the verb, so I will address the verb. The word, interestingly enough, traces back to the Old Norse word angra, to grieve or be distressed". This comes from the Proto-Germanic word for "painful", angus, which is further hypothesized to have originated from the Proto-Indo-European root angh, "painfully and tightly constricted". Something metaphorically constricted in the sense of feelings is anger, which equates, so it makes sense that the word became figurative in Greek and obtained its current definition in English. The weird part about this is how many words derived from the etymons of anger. The word anguish comes from Latin through the same PIE root; just a sibling of anger. The word anxious also came from a Latin, but it was a different word that still traced back to angh. The word angst came through a bunch of Germanic words to us, the word angina (a type of throat infection) can be traced through Latin and Greek deriving from angh, and most suprisingly, hangnail has nothing to do with a nail that is hanging off your finger but (h)"ang"er that it hurts so much. It is therefore conclusive that anger has been an inspiration for many current English words.
Your comment will be posted after it is approved.
Leave a Reply.
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.