It honestly never occurred to me until this word was requested, but flour is more than a homophone of flower- it's directly related! Sometime in the middle of the 1400s, we adopted the Middle English word flour, meaning "flower", for the white wheaty powder, under the notion that, as a flower is the finest part of the field, so is flour the best part of the meal. Flour meaning "flower" eventually changed in spelling to differentiate it (even though it was there first- no fair!) and flour meaning "flour" stayed the same in that time. Both of these words come from Anglo-French flur, which comes from Latin florem, still meaning "flower" but also doubling as "blossom" (this is connected to flora, as in flora and fauna, through a Roman goddess). In reconstructing the noun, we can trace it to Proto-Italic flos and Proto-Indo-European blehs, with the same definition. Usage of the word flour has mirrored that of flower very closely over the last five hundred years- changing when it changed, although always a little less.
Adam Aleksic is a 220-month-old, 2800-ounce high school senior with disturbing interests in etymology, vexillology, geography, board games, limericks, and law. Adam will be studying linguistics at Harvard University in the fall.
The Etymology Nerd