If you wanted to bore a hole in the 1700s, you would have to use a hand-cranked drill to perforate the desired surface. Using the revolving tool necessitates a very dull, repetitive motion, which can often cause feelings of ennui or listlessness. Therefore, in 1768 the verb to bore got extended from the action of drilling to the causation of boredom, and it only grew from there. Now an irritating person can also be a bore (coined 1812), and you can feel boredom (1852). Usages of all terms related to boring are down since the initial craze in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, but they're here to stay. Okay, back to the verb for "drilling", the original bore. That's from Middle English boren, which is from Old English borian, "to pierce". Through Proto-Germanic burona, we can eventually reconstruct that to Proto-Indo-European breh, which meant "to carve". Hope that wasn't boring to you guys.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a rising 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, and law.