When the word disgust was first used in the English language toward the end of the sixteenth century, it referred specifically to a strong distaste for food, but it soon came to refer to aversions to things in general. The noun was borrowed from Middle French desgouster, which (through the exact same word in Old French) is composed of the roots des-, meaning "not", and gouster, meaning "taste". Des- is a Latin prefix that is reconstructed to a Proto-Indo-European element meaning "apart" and gouster is, by way of Latin gustare, from Proto-Indo-European geus, "to taste" or "choose" (this is also the source of the names Angus and Fergus, the verbs choose and gustate, and the nouns gusto and Valkyrie). Usage of the word disgust peaked in 1804 but has been experiencing something of a comeback since.
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.