It's the international day of chess, so this post was not in the spirit of football or war, but it got martial pretty quick anyway. The word blitz (with connotations of "speedy destruction" is an obvious shortening of blitzkrieg, a word we stole from the Germans meaning "lightning war", a portmanteau of blitz ("lightning", and yes, it's basically the same word we started with BUT SOMETIMES ETYMOLOGY IS CIRCULAR) and krieg ("war", of course). The German blitz is from Middle High German blitze ("flash"), which is from Old High German blecchazzen, with the same meaning. There have been several attempts at reconstruction, but most likely is that this is from the Proto-Germanic adjective blaikaz, meaning "white", from Proto-Indo-European bhleyg, "to shine". Meanwhile, krieg was developing from Middle High German kriec, which meant something more like "opposition" than "war", from Old High German krig, or "stubborness", which took a pit stop in Proto-Germanic as it developed from Proto-Indo-European gwere, which meant "heavy" possibly because of a "stubborn mule" connection. Now, we can draw two things from this: blitzkrieg literally means "shiny heavy" and we can at least thank the Nazis for our chess time controls.
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.