Etymology Corner- Journal

Dear Wonderful!,

Today I went to the etymology corner! And today we’re going to talk about the enormous roots in the word journal. The word is a wholesale borrowing from French, who got it from a Latin word that we also stole and still use, diurnal. It means the same there as it does now- something that takes place during the day. The same term via different languages gave us diary. The same sort of borrowing happened with a journey, which is travel taken over the course of a day, and sojourn, staying for a day. When the day’s work is declared over, we adjourn. Wow! That was a short one!

Okay, not really. See, the Latin dies meaning a day has its finger in all sorts of pies (weirdly enough, the word day is Germanic in origin and is unrelated but possibly influenced by the root). But dies does give us the word for an instrument used to measure a day, the dial, and a term for a day-long meeting but NOT the one for eating, diet. Noontime is often called the meridian, literally “middle day” and the season in which days get longer was called Lenten before it was Spring, literally “long day”. Circadian rhythms are the cycles of the day and maliciously bad days are dismal.

This is only off of that one Latin root, but going even further back is the Proto-Indo-European *dyeu- meaning “to shine”. This root also meant the sky in general and was associated with gods, including the Proto-Indo-European god Dyeus, the sky father. You can see this root in words like deity, divine, diva or even the concept of getting so high that you think you see gods with the word psychedelic. Dyeus gave birth to leading gods in all sorts of descended societies. Zeus is a direct derivative and Jupiter even has the word father in it, as does the Vedic Dyaus Pitar.

Other gods with this root in their name include Dionysus, Diana, Dagda and Tyr. The Romans called Jupiter Jove from the same root and his (theoretical or claimed) descendant was called Julius or Julia. Gaius Julius Caesar named the month he was born after himself, July. Folks born under the sign of Jupiter were seen as good-natured, or jovial.  They even named days of the week after gods, but that’s a subject for a whole other etymology corner. For now I’ll just note Tyr’s day, also known, of course, as Tuesday.

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One thought on “Etymology Corner- Journal

  1. Pingback: Etymology Corner- Sharp | Robin Garcia

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