The word nutmeg was first used in English in the 1380s, when it was spelled nutimenge. Other forms around that time included nootmoge, notemoge, netmug, notemygge, notmyge, and more. The current iteration became the standard around the early seventeenth century and then peaked in usage in the 1780s. The word comes from an incorrect partial translation of the Old French phrase nois muscade, meaning "nut smelling like musk". That comes from Latin nux muscata, with the same meaning. Nux comes from the Proto-Indo-European kneu, which also meant "nut" and is the source of words like nougat and nucleus. Muscata, meanwhile, comes from the Sanskrit word for "testicle" which I've written about before when blogging about the etymology of "musk". Eventually, it's all thought to trace to the Proto-Indo-European reconstruction muhs, meaning "mouse" (there was a perceived resemblance in shape).
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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.