In 1592, the English poet Samuel Daniel write in his Sonnet XLVI "Let others sing of Knights and Palladines in aged accents, and untimely words" (Palladines rhymes with lines). This would prove to be the first traceable usage of the word paladin in the English language, paladin being a kind of synonym for "knight" (often with a religious connotation). Daniel had a fancy for saying things fancily, so the word was still paladin in Middle French and he had just spruced it up a bit. Through Italian, this comes from Latin palatinus, which meant "palace official". Makes sense, as knights were retained by those who lived in palaces. This is effectively a conjugation of palatium, which meant "palace", and here it gets interesting: palatium is named after the hill Palatium in Rome, which is where Roman senators and aristocrats built their opulent palaces (also the root of palace, through Old French palais). This is either named after an Etruscan goddess or a word for "stake", and that's all we know.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a rising junior 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.