The re- prefix in the word rehearse obviously means "again". In Middle English, Old French, and Latin, it had the same meaning and spelling, and it's eventually reconstructed to the Proto-Indo-European word wert, meaning "turn". What's interesting to me about rehearse, though, is the root hearse, which as a word today means "a vehicle for transporting coffins". Turns out there actually is a connection: they both derive from Latin hirpex, describing a large kind of rake: rehearse through Old French hercier, meaning "drag", and hearse through Old French herce, "portcullis". Basically, when you rehearse, you drag something across again, and a hearse contains a rake- or portcullis-like framework over a coffin. Going even further back, the weirdness increases as we trace hirpex to Oscan hirpus, meaning "wolf", because wolf fur is bristly like a rake, apparently. It's crazy and honestly quite confusing how the English language connects do-overs with death with rakes with wolves, but I love it.
It's pretty common knowledge where the word hamburger comes from. It's named after Hamburg, a city in northern Germany. This is similar to how Frankfurters were named after Frankfurt and wieners were named after Vienna; in this case, the term was applied because Germans from the area brought their style of soft seasoned meat to America, where it became known as Hamburg meat for a while until Charlie Nagreen used that to make the first real hamburger in 1885. That's fascinating, but what's most interesting to me is the subsequent rebracketing: so many people thought that hamburger included the prefix ham-, because both words included some kind of meat, so they abbreviated it to burger, a term that really shouldn't exist given the origin.
Let's learn through tankas,
or Japanese poetry
a bit like haikus.
Different syllable count, though,
and they have five lines, not three.
The first part is tan,
which meant "short" in Japanese,
and then ka comes next,
definition of "ditty".
So, together, it's "brief song".
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a 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.