GIVING OUT EDITS
The word edit as a noun meaning "correction" is only about fifty years old! It came from the verb, which is a late eighteenth century back-formation from editor, which originally referred to the person in charge of printing pre-prepared works (and only later came to be associated with the proofreading process). That's a 1649 borrowing from Latin editus, meaning "brought forth", the past participle of the verb edere (which should not be confused with its homonym meaning "eat"). Finally, that can be broken up into the prefix ex- ("out"; traces to Proto-Indo-European eghs) and another verb, dare, meaning "to give" (from Proto-Indo-European do, also "give"). According to Google NGrams, usage frequency of the words edit, editor, and edition has remained relatively constant since the seventeenth century.
5/28/2020 03:53:28 am
Latin has two unrelated verbs, ēdĕre and edĕre, meaning 'to bring forth' and 'to eat' respectively. Therefore, edit (from ēdĕre) and edible (from edĕre) are entirely unrelated. Edĕre and to eat are related though, at the Indo-European level.
5/28/2020 04:12:53 am
Thank you for pointing this out. I updated the blog post to correct my error.
12/21/2020 12:51:48 am
Hi Gaston, this is a question that has bothered me for a while. I tried to look up the root of the English word “edit,” and some sites say it comes from the Latin verb Edo, edare (to give forth, publish), which is distinct from Edo, edere (to eat). So is it edare or edere? Also if there are two separate verbs edere in Latin (homonyms, as you point out), how do we know for sure they’re unrelated?
12/21/2020 05:11:45 am
This Latin word for 'eat' has many cognates in other Indo-European languages, such as Greek and Sanskrit, including even the English 'eat'.
Leave a Reply.
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.