Curiosity fades

Greed, desire, curiosity


Again and again I stumble across the "de" in curiosity and desire. While desire In my opinion, it is used much less often than desire, are curiosity and curiosity maybe as often. But one Greed does it not exist? Where does the "de" come from?


Dear Mr. N.,

Similar words influence each other more often in the course of the word history, even if their genesis is not exactly the same. In this case we are dealing with three words, the history of which is more different than what one might think at first glance.

The word greed is an Old High German derivation of the adjective gir, ger = eager. This adjective, in turn, was later derived from greedy replaced.

The word desire is not a direct derivative of greed, but a derivation from the Middle High German verb begin = desire. With the old derivative suffix ‑Ida, later too ‑De reduced, other words were also formed. Today we still know next desire for example Gesture, joy, complaint, authority, ornament. The suffixless form desire is then by analogy with greed originated.

The wordcuriosity has a different genesis: it is a regression of curious. By "regression" is meant the following: First came the adjective curious (16th century). Later you create a corresponding noun from which this adjective could have been derived: curiosity (17th century). The variant curiosity can finally be explained by analogy with desire to explain.

Greed, desire, curiosity - three words with a similar shape and different origins that have influenced each other over time.

With best regards

Dr. Bopp

Sources include:
- Kluge, Etymological Dictionary of the German Language, De Gruyter, 2002.
- The dictionary of origin, Dudenverlag 2007.
- DWDS, Etymological Dictionary according to Pfeifer.

Author Dr. BoppPosted on Categories General, VocabularyTags Word history