BEATING THE FLOOR
When I think of the word pavement, I imagine an asphalt-covered road, but obviously that's a newer invention. In the olden times, the term could refer to any sort of hard covering on the ground, especially tiled floors. Through Old French, it can be traced to Latin pavimentum, meaning "floor" or "firm surface". That derives from the verb pavire, "to beat" - the connection was that, to be firm, the floors had to be beaten down with tools. Pavire ultimately comes from the Proto-Indo-European reconstruction paw, which meant "strike" and is also the root of words as diverse as amputate, reputation, berate, dispute, and pit. According to Google NGrams, usage of the word pavement has been dramatically decreasing since a high in 1913, and Google Trends shows declining searches as well.
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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.