The verb skiing comes from the verb ski, which comes from the noun ski, "the thing you ski on". Since skiing started in Scandinavia in seventeenth century, it makes perfect sense that the word comes from the same time and place as well. Ski came from its Norwegian counterpart, ski, which came from the earlier Norwegian word skith, "snowshoe or ski" (this was metynomically applied to the verb later). Going back even further in time, skith meant "a piece of long wood", because that's really all skis were. This in turn can be followed all the way back to Proto-Germanic and the word skida, which either also meant "wood", or more interestingly, "to cut or split" (as in wood). In any case, this can further be reconstructed to the Proto-Indo-European word for "cut" and "split", skei (also the root of the verb shed as in "molt" but not "building", and schizo-, but I'll save that for a future post). The point is, it's curious how words can splinter over time, isn't it?
Adam Aleksic is a 221-month-old, 2800-ounce high school senior with disturbing interests in etymology, vexillology, geography, board games, limericks, and law. Adam will be studying linguistics at Harvard University in the fall.
The Etymology Nerd