Faery or Fairy?

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Dinosaur, Jul 10, 2010.

  1. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    Whem I was in college, we used the term Faery Chess whne referring to chess-like games.

    Is faery the British word for fairy? Is it an archaic word? Is it something one of my classmates made up?
     
  2. NO1 I Am DARKNESS Registered Senior Member

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    pansy :shrug:
     
  3. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    The word faierie was borrowed from French in the 13th century, but re-spelled "fairy" in Middle English. However, the original meaning of the French word was "enchantment" or "fairyland," and in English it was broadened to include the creatures of fairyland. Late in the 16th century the word "faerie" was coined to recapture the original, narrower meaning of "fairyland."

    Therefore to use "faerie" to mean a fairy, the creature, is incorrect. But to use it as an adjective to mean "enchanted," "fairy-like," "of fantasy," etc., is perhaps a little affected, but it's correct usage.

    Nonetheless it's not widely used in America except by people who want to show off their education, like young college students.
     
  4. glaucon tending tangentially Moderator

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    5,501
    Or by Shakespeare in A Midsummer's Night Dream.

    Or by people who still play D&D.... lol


    On a related note however, I suspect that the word fey (as an adjective I think...?) is related somehow.

    Fraggle?
     
  5. Pandaemoni Valued Senior Member

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    Actually "fey" descends from the Old English "fæge" ("doomed to die" and also "timid" and related to the Middle High German "veige" which meant "doomed" or "timid"), whereas the root of "Faerie" is, as Fraggle noted, from the Old French with its original root is the Latin "fata" (the Fates). The Fates are a group of supernatural being, but both words do have a link to the concept of "fate."

    Thay "fey" is sometimes used to mean "fairy-like" suggests people are making the mental connection between the two, and the terms converging as a result, even though their etymologies are separate.
     
  6. Stryder Keeper of "good" ideas. Staff Member

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    We still have Fayre's and Fête's in England. I only mention these because I wouldn't be surprised if what has already been mention plays apart in their names.
     
  7. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

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    It would appear that fête is derived from Old French (and is related to "feast") but fayre (and fair - both senses - fair to look at and the gathering) is from fæger, (beautiful, pleasant to look at), which faeries/ fairies are certainly supposed to be. IIRC in the original sense/ mythologies a fairy, and things of faerie weren't these wimpy little Tinkerbell-sized munchkins, but at least human-sized.

    Now all we need is Fraggle to connect fæger and fæge...
     
  8. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    We seem to all be working from the same sources. I don't see anything tracing either word back further, no cognates outside the Germanic language group, no way to trace them back to a common Indo-European root.

    Etymology is frustrating. When we can't find the origin of a word there are too many possibilities:
    • It came from proto-Indo-European, but only the Germanic tribe hung onto it and everyone else let it go.
    • The Germanic people picked it up from some non-Indo-European group they met in their travels.
    • It was a frivolous invention, like doohickey or rambunctious.
    • A child, a foreigner or someone with a speech impediment mispronounced a word and everyone thought it was so cute they picked it up. This is why we say chaise lounge instead of chaire longue, "long chair."
     
  9. Pandaemoni Valued Senior Member

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    It also, from what I can see online, appears distinct. There is the line of:

    Feigr: Proto-Germanic *faigjaz (cowardly, with led to fæge) and

    Fagr: Proto-Germanic *fagraz, whence also Old English fæġer ( > English fair
     
  10. pjdude1219 troaty mouth best song ever Valued Senior Member

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    what about the word Fae
     
  11. scifes heckle the snobs Valued Senior Member

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    2,555
    anti: ant-eye or ant-i
    same with semi.
    same with missile..is it miss"eye"le or miss"i"ll?
     
  12. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

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    I think you've missed the point.
    This thread isn't about the pronunciation, it's about there being two similar words.
     
  13. Pandaemoni Valued Senior Member

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    I only know what the sources say, and most suggest that Fae and Faerie were related in Old French. More recently, though, I see a reference to it being a variant spelling of "fey" or of "fay", http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/fae although other sources also indicatate that "faerie" and "fey" come from different roots: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairy (stating "fey, originally meaning "fated to die" or "having forebodings of death" (hence "visionary", "mad", and various other derived meanings) is completely unrelated, being from Old English fæge, Proto-Germanic *faigja- and Proto-Indo-European *poikyo-")).
     
  14. pjdude1219 troaty mouth best song ever Valued Senior Member

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    just asking because I've seen all of these used to refer to such entities and it really gets confusing.
     
  15. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    * * * * NOTE FROM THE MODERATOR * * * *

    This thread is about etymology. If you want to ask about phonetics and pronunciation, please start a separate thread.

    Thanks,
    F.R.
     
  16. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    22,732
    Cool. I didn't think to use Wikipedia as a source for etymologies.
     

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