The re- prefix in the word rehearse obviously means "again". In Middle English, Old French, and Latin, it had the same meaning and spelling, and it's eventually reconstructed to the Proto-Indo-European word wert, meaning "turn". What's interesting to me about rehearse, though, is the root hearse, which as a word today means "a vehicle for transporting coffins". Turns out there actually is a connection: they both derive from Latin hirpex, describing a large kind of rake: rehearse through Old French hercier, meaning "drag", and hearse through Old French herce, "portcullis". Basically, when you rehearse, you drag something across again, and a hearse contains a rake- or portcullis-like framework over a coffin. Going even further back, the weirdness increases as we trace hirpex to Oscan hirpus, meaning "wolf", because wolf fur is bristly like a rake, apparently. It's crazy and honestly quite confusing how the English language connects do-overs with death with rakes with wolves, but I love it.
Adam Aleksic is a 219-month-old, 2800-ounce high school senior with disturbing interests in etymology, vexillology, geography, board games, limericks, and law. Adam is awaiting his college rescissions and loves writing about himself in the third person.
The Etymology Nerd