Eivind » posted to Eivind and linguistics
The semantic drift of "silly"
Old English: “blessed” ‎· Eivind
1400: “innocent” (Cely art thou, hooli virgyne marie.) ‎· Eivind
1470: “deserving of compassion” (Sely Scotland, that of helpe has gret neide.) ‎· Eivind
1633: “weak” (Thou onely art The mightie God, but I am a sillie worm.) ‎· Eivind
Then via "simple" and "ignorant" to where we are today, you silly bunts! ‎· Eivind
Very nice! We still have "selig" with the meanings "blessed" and "blissful". :-) ‎· maitani
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) ‎· Eivind
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." ‎· Eivind