Boutique is a very French-sounding word, and apothecary is as Latin as anything. The words sound nothing alike, but they both go back to Greek. How? Boutique, as anyone can guess, is obviously a loan from French boutique, and that traces to Old Provencal botica, which meant something more like a "general store" than the "small shop" connotation of boutique. Botica is from Latin apoteca, which meant "storehouse" and is the root of apothecary, through Old French apotecaire, where the meaning evolved from "store" to "pharmacy" (apothecary, surprisingly, is also the root of bodega, through Spanish bodega, "wineshop". P to b switches were common). Latin apotheca is from Greek apotheke, which meant "repository" and comes from apotithemi, which meant "to put away", since you put things away in a repository (but take them out of a shop, showing a complete switch in definition). This in turn is a portmanteau of apo, "away", and tithemi, "to put". Apo traces to the Proto-Indo-European root hepo ("away") and tithemi comes from another PIE root, dheh, or "put". So! Your local drugstore and high-end retail store share more connections than they'd like to admit.
Domain is a pretty ubiquitous word, covering everything from x-values in graphing to internet urls to political borders. They all go back to the Middle English word demain, which meant "to rule". This makes sense for the political borders if you consider that they were all in the king's domain, it makes sense if you think of private ownership for the urls, and it doesn't make any sense for the math-related definitions (and there are like three). Demain comes from a word in French which consistently meant "estate", but inconsistently was spelled demaine, demeine, demeigne, and domaine. The "property" sense wins out as the word is traced further back to Latin dominium, which meant "right of ownership". The word then shifted more to the "owner" as dominium is a conjugation of dominus, which is not an evil dinosaur but a word meaning "lord" (AD is an abbreviation for anno domini, "the year of our lord", though CE is a better, secular way of saying that). Dominus has two potential origins: either through Proto-Italic to Proto-Indo-European demh ("subdue", since lords subdue their serfs) or through Latin domus to Proto-Indo-European dem ("house", since a lord is master of his house).
While playing Trivial Pursuit earlier this week with a friend, I got a question asking what marine mammal's name translates to "fish pig". Harnessing my etymological skills, I went on to answer porpoise correctly and later win the game. I did this because I knew that the Latin word for "pig" was porcus and the word for "fish" was piscis (and what sounds like porcuspiscis?) I was very proud of myself, but there's more to it that that. Porpoise underwent a lot of variations in Middle English and Anglo-Norman, taking such forms as porpeys, porpas, purpeis, porpeis, and purpeys. In Old French, it likewise vacillated between pourpois, porpais, pourpais, and porpeis, all of course still referring to the dolphin-like creature. This comes from basically the Latin concoction that I devised: porcopiscis, or "fish pig", supposedly since porpoises have snouts similar to those of pigs. Then it breaks into the two separate words I already discussed. Porcus we've already seen to derive from Proto-Indo-European porkos through Proto-Italic porkos, and piscis comes from the Proto-Indo-European root, possibly from peh, "to feed". And before you ask, yes, piscis is the direct etymon of the zodiac pisces and yes, pork comes from porcus, through the French word porc, however. Yes. Fish pigs.
To this day, if you type the word orc into Microsoft Word, it'll come up as a misspelling. But any LOTR fan could tell you that the word is as real as balrog, for goodness' sake! Popularized by J.R.R. Tolkien in The Hobbit, orc has remained a part of popular culture since. However, when he created his demonic species, Tolkien drew from the Latin word Orcus, one of the Latin nicknames for the Roman version of Hades, the god of the dead. Meanwhile, another Lord of the Rings species, the ogre, also drew its origin from Orcus, with a stop at its French homonym. Two ghoulish creatures, both from the ultimate monster. Makes sense. But where does Orcus come from? The origin is unknown and largely obscure, but several theories have been put forth. Some think it's from the Byzantine word Ogur, which meant "Hungarian", but as cool as that would be, it's probably not right. Others trace it to the Greek god Horkos, the lord of oaths, a noun from horkos, "oath" and eventually PIE serk, "to fence". Whatever; it's interesting nonetheless.
Yesterday we analyzed the word kindergarten and traced the root of German garten through Old High German garto to Proto-Germanic gardo ("hedge") and ultimately to Proto-Indo-European ghordos (also "hedge"). You'd assume that English garden would take a similar, Germanic, route. Not quite. It first goes back to Anglo-Norman gardin, which kind of went alongside its Old French cognate jardin, to be traced to the Latin term hortus gardinus, or "enclosed garden". Let me stress here that we have not just entered another language family, but gone to the original language in that family. Borrowings from Germanic are irregular in Latin; most words are from Proto-Italic or Greek. However, the gardinus part of hortus gardinus (meaning "enclosed") then goes to that earlier Proto-Germanic word, gardo, which meant "hedge", remember. As if that's not cool enough the "hedge" was the "enclosing" part, the hortus was the "garden" part. Etymologically speaking, hortus gardinus meant "garden garden"! Another interesting connection we can draw from this is how many non-Germanic languages adopted the Germanic word gardo because of the Latin and later French influence: Portuguese jardin, Spanish jardin, Tagalog hardin (intrusion into another language family through Spanish hegemony), Irish gort ("wheat field") and much more in local dialects. Deep breath. Etymology is so fun!
Many people already know that kindergarten is German for "children's garden". But let's go a little more in-depth. The word was invented by Thuringian educator Friedrich Froebel in 1840 to describe preschool, where he wanted children to grow naturally and bloom, like plants in a garden (thus the name). The word is a portmanteau of kinder ("children") and garten ("garden"), two words so close to their English cognates that you are left with no doubt that both tongues are West Germanic siblings. Kinder is a conjugation of kind, "child", which is from Proto-Germanic kunjam, "family" (also the forebear of our modern word kin, through Old English cynn, also "family"), ultimately deriving from Proto-Indo-European gene, "to give birth". Meanwhile, garten was developing from Old High German garto, changing definition from the earlier Proto-Germanic gardo, "hedge", which in turn came from Proto-Indo-European ghordhos, also "hedge". Kindergarten ended up being such a clever idea that the concept and the word were borrowed into English in 1852. The rest is history.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior 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.