I don't remember the context, but someone recently joked to me that the city of Genoa and the word genuflect are related. I looked it up later, and, surprisingly, they are! In Latin and some older texts, it was spelled Genua, and that's probably an old Ligurian word for "knee" because of the city's geographic position where the Italian peninsula curves into the rest of Europe like a knee. Finally, that comes from the Proto-Indo-European reconstruction gnewo, also meaning "knee". I've already written about genuflect before, but it comes from the same root, through Medieval Latin genuflecto, the fourth declension Latin word for "knee", genu, and the Proto-Italic root genu. The term genoa can also refer to a type of jib used on cruising yachts - that term was borrowed into English around the 1930s - and is the source of the word jeans.
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.