The first time you look at it, the word walnut doesn't look like anything special. Then you begin to wonder what wal means and the etymology gets very interesting. In Middle English, the word underwent a lot of spelling variations, including walnote, walnutte, walnotte, and walnote. It all comes from Old English walhnutu, which literally meant "foreign nut". The second part, hnutu, was the antiquated way to spell nut and comes from Proto-Indo-European knew, with the same definition. Now for wal: it comes from wealh, which was the Old English word for "foreigner" but could also be applied to Celtic people-groups looked down upon as barbaric by the Germanic settlers of Britan. In fact, Wealh is also the etymon of the demonym Welsh for that same reason. They've always been a bit odd to the English. I'll go more into detail on that in tomorrow's blog post.
Adam Aleksic is a sophomore studying linguistics and government at Harvard University. He also has disturbing interests in politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, and law.