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The semantic drift of "silly"
2016-01-25 07:27:51 GMT
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Old English: “blessed”
1400: “innocent” (Cely art thou, hooli virgyne marie.)
1470: “deserving of compassion” (Sely Scotland, that of helpe has gret neide.)
1633: “weak” (Thou onely art The mightie God, but I am a sillie worm.)
Then via "simple" and "ignorant" to where we are today, you silly bunts!
Very nice! We still have "selig" with the meanings "blessed" and "blissful". :-)
Oh, I didn't think of that. Must be same as Norwegian "salig" which meant "blessed," and for a while was code for "dead" (stemming from the fact that dead saints were addressed as salige so and so, perhaps). Now it means happy/content to most people, I would guess because of the look the saints have on their faces in the paintings. (For, I speculate, the same reason it can mean drunk in nynorsk :D)
Side note: Quisling's "Norwegian greeting," which looked and sounded quite similar to the standard "Nazi greeting," was a straight raised arm and the words "heil og sæl," which was claimed to be an ancient Norwegian greeting meaning "health and happiness."
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