Fun Etymology Tuesday – Demon

Gosh, you guys, the HLC seems to have lost track of the days!
We’re sorry – here is your longed for FunEty!

Yesterday’s word was “demon”!

This word came to English around the beginning of the 13th century and refers to some kind of evil spirit, incubus or devil. Interestingly, the Latin word from which this word derives, “daemon”, means simply spirit and the Greek word from which that derives, “daimon” even means guiding spirit (or deity, divine power, lesser god or tutelary deity, sometimes also the souls of the dead)!

From PIE *dai-mon, meaning divider or provider of fortunes or destinies, from the root *da- meaning to divide, the malignant sense we see in English is because the Greek word was used in Christian Greek translations and Vulgate for god of heathens, heathen idol and unclean spirit, while the usual Ancient Greek sense is attested in English from the 1560s and is sometimes written daemon or daimon to distinguish it from the evil feel of demon.

So there it is: one day late, but better late than never, your FunEty of this week! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!

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