In the 1550s, the word abrecock was borrowed into English. After a few centuries of development, this eventually gave way to apricot. Surprisingly, this came from Catalan and not any other European language- in this case from the word abercoc, which had the same meaning. This, in all likelihood, traces to the Arabic word al-burquq, which actually meant "the plum". This sort of makes sense; the fruits don't look all that different, after all. Al-burquq comes from Greek berikokkia, which referred more to the trees than the fruits. Before that, we can derive this from Latin praecoccia, meaning "peaches", which is getting quite out of hand. This literally may be defined as "ripen early", which means that we can eliminate the prae-/pre- prefix meaning "before", leaving us with the root coquere, "cook". So, something that ripens early is cooked before. Coquere comes from Proto-Indo-European pekw, also meaning "to cook", and that's that. Even if we disregard the fascinating morphemic change, the origin is especially scintillating because of the path the word origin took. Rarely does something go from Latin to Greek (normally it's vice versa), and the Catalan and Arabic routes are also unusual.
6/11/2019 12:51:30 am
Did you know that apricots look like what iPhone emojis’ peaches represent?
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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.