BIRTH OF A WORD
Etymologically speaking, the word birth should bring you good tidings. The earliest it can be traced back to is the Old Norse word which went roughly like byrthr and came from the Proto-Germanic word gaburthis. Both of these now-extinct languages had the same definition as in English for this word, which is unsurprising, since births are pretty frequent occurences. I mean, it's happened to everyone at least once, right? Gaburthis came from the Proto-Indo-European word bhrto, from the root word bher. Here at last we get a change in definition, as bher meant to "carry" (it's literally the precursor of the word "to bear"). Thus pregnancies and births are not just biologically correlated, but etymologically. A curious connection that can be found from this PIE root is that it lead to the Latin word fors, which lead to the Latin word fortis, which lead to today's word "fortune". Therefore, babies are more of a blesssing than one might think. The word born, as in "I was born sixteen years ago", is a forgotten past tense of the pregnancy word "to bear" and obviously also traces back to bher.
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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.