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Interesting Etymologies 9.2 : Cricket & Football

Updated: Apr 27, 2022

"Hello again Word Lovers!"

This week we focus on the etymology of two very English pasttimes, cricket and football


Charly investigates to competing etymologies for the word cricket, either derived from old French "cricke" to mean a stick or from Dutch "krickstoel".


The etymology of Football is apparent to everyone but Charly is determined to uncover the roots of both "foot" and "ball" before sigining off on the topic.

Foot is traced through German and Gothic to the PIE root of Ped but it is ball that catches the imagination! It can be traced through Old Norse and Proto-Germanic to a PIE root of "bhel" meaning to blow or swell. There are an extraordinary number of words that reach us from this root, such as beluga, black, blank, bleak, blind....

Charly then takes us down an extraordinary rabbit hole of the separation of the PIE root. We dare not spoil the fun of what he uncovers in this mere five minutes of etymological discovery, but needless to say only Charly could take us from football to phallus before arriving at Cauliflower!

Explore the full Interesting Etymologies series archive here


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