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Mysteries of vernacular:
Lady,
woman.
Lady is tied to a number of words
that seem at first glance
etymologically unrelated.
She traces her roots back
to the Old English words hlaf,
which referred to a loaf of bread
and is the direct ancestor of our modern word loaf,
and daege,
which meant maid
and is the root of our word dairy,
the place where the dairymaid works.
Together, hlaf and daege became hlafdige,
literally loaf maid,
or, more figuratively, kneader of bread.
As early as the ninth century,
hlafdige was the name for a mistress of servants,
or the female head of the household.
The Old English word for a male head of household
was hlafweard,
a compound of hlaf, loaf,
and weard,
which meant keeper
and is the word of modern words
like ward and warden.
Both hlafweard, the breadwinner,
and hlafdige, the bread kneader,
came to be titles of respect,
referring to citizens of higher social standing.
Through a process known as syncopation,
both words lost their internal sounds
to become lord and lady, respectively.
Though still an expression of courtesy,
lady has since moved
down the ladder of social standing
and is now often used
to mean simply a woman.
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【TED-Ed】字源探秘:女士 (Mysteries of vernacular: Lady - Jessica Oreck and Rachael Teel)

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姚易辰 發佈於 2014 年 2 月 13 日
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