Words (7)

words When I wrote “Brouhaha” I wondered what was the origin of the word. According to the Historical Dictionary of the French language (Alain Rey), its origin is disputed. The first hypothesis is that of a phonetic alteration of the Hebrew Barukh Habba “Blessed is he who comes”,  by which the Levites greeted the people heading to the Temple. These words often used in prayers would be deformed by those who do not speak Hebrew.

Another hypothesis is that it is  an  interjective phrase attributed to the devil, to inspire fear, attested in 1552, where it developed the sense that we know today “great confusion of voices” .

The first hypothesis is plausible phonetically but the evolution of the meaning is not obvious. This is not impossible, of course, especially when we know that the word tête “head”, which comes from the Latin “testa”, which originally meant, “shell”. In the case of tête, however,  the various stages of its linguistic evolution can be traced, which does  not seem to be the case of “brouhaha”.

The second hypothesis is an entertaining story, that would probably be more effective in the evenings. However, I wonder if I should be happy to learn that the devil speaks French.

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2 thoughts on “Words (7)”

  1. I just wrote a story this morning using the word “Brouhaha” – so there’s a spirit floating about the blogosphere! I had to check the correct spelling. (My story however won’t be posted for a month or so because I’m way ahead). I do enjoy your postings!

    Liked by 1 person

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