Ƿordnerd Ƿodnesdæg #14

I’ve recently been posting about hagiology, or the study of saints.  Hagios is Greek for “holy” and according to the Online Etymology Dictionary is cognate with Gk agnos which means “chaste.”  Pretty boring and straightforward.

Our MnE word “holy” however derives from a slightly more diverse, Germanic background.  Old English halig according to the OED again had a pre-Christian meaning of something like “that which must be preserved whole or intact, that cannot be transgressed or violated.”  It is also related to OE hal (“health”), cognate with Old High German heil which you may recognize as the German salutation and MnE “hail.”

  1. kabroder posted this