The word auger, meaning "a tole for boring holes in wood", is not to be confused with the word augur, meaning "foretell". It's the first word we're concerned with today; in Middle English it was spelled nauger. This is the same type of rebracketing that we saw in yesterday's blog post about the word adder, and the ones we explored a while ago in uncle: the phrase "a nauger" inappropriately got rewritten as "an auger", and the rest is history. Previously, the word was nafogar, which meant "drill nave", a phrase which, for all my research, I still don't know the meaning for (but apparently a nave is a kind of hub or something). This is from Proto-Germanic reconstruction nabogaizaz, which meant the same thing, apparently a portmanteau of the ancient words for "nave" and "drill", nabo and gaizaz, respectively. Nabo in turn is from Proto-Indo-European hneb and gainaz is from PIE ghey, meaning "move".
Adam Aleksic has been described as the internet's sixth most famous etymologist. He loves writing about himself in the third person, he's a freshman at Harvard University, and he has disturbing interests in linguistics, vexillology, geography, board games, limericks, and law.
The Etymology Nerd