One of my biggest pet peeves is hearing people say ye olde the way it's spelled. The ye is actually an old way to spell the, as a stylized alteration of þe, the Old English version of "the". It should be pronounced "the old". And, besides, that whole phrase was made up in the 1800s to advertise taverns as being old when they really weren't. Olde wasn't even the old way to spell old; that was ald. The whole thing was made to sound archaic. Auuugh! Annoying. Anyway, þe as a word traces back to the Proto-Germanic word pa, which came from Proto-Indo-European to, with the same meaning. Ald is from Proto-Germanic aldaz, meaning "to grow up", which in turn is from PIE heleti, or "to nourish". There isn't much change in such simple, ubiquitous words... except for ye olde. Grrr.
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