Mashed Radish

Last post, the word jar lead us to akimbo, with the latter possibly running parallel to the Latin adjective, ansātus, whose literal meaning of “furnished with a handle” the Ancient Romans likened to having one’s arms akimbo. Ansātus, we learned, is from the noun ansa, a “handle.” Our work with this ansa, however, is not yet done, for it may also be related to ease.

"Elbow room." Doodle by @andrescalo. “Elbow room.” Doodle by @andrescalo.


We cannot speak to the origin of ease with ease. We do know that English takes ease from the French aise,”comfort.” You might recognize aise in malaise, a direct borrowing of the French for “discomfort.” But the earliest usages of aise in French are actually “elbow room” and “opportunity.” How’d that happen?

Skeat, Weekley, and Partridge conclude that aise, formed from aisance, is from the Latin adjacentia, literally “something nearby.” You can quickly spot…

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