Current Meaning Versus Original Meaning

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University of Dammam
College of Arts

The Current and the Original Sense|

According to its use nowadays, starve is a verb meaning to suffer or to die due to lack of the amount of food which is enough to keep one alive. It can come with adjectives giving the meaning of not having something that one needs, for example, supply-starved rebels. The original sense of starve meant ‘to die’, as was used in Old English, which is of Germanic origin; and "probably from a base meaning ‘be rigid’" (Oxford Dictionary). Thus, the original meaning of starve is not different from the current one, except that the latter is more specific than the former. When we take the word hazard the case is different. That is, hazard is a noun which means a thing that can be dangerous or cause damage, according to its use today. The original meaning of hazard is, in fact, different from the one being used now, in the 21th century. In Middle English, hazard, originally, referred to a certain gambling game. Thus, it did not retain the first sense. As there are many words in English that retained the first sense, whether with more specification or not, there are, also, many other words that no longer carry the meaning of their original sense. The following table consists of samples of these words: Word| The original Sense| Is the original sense retained?| bath| In Old English it means "immersing in water, mud, etc.," also "quantity of water, etc., for bathing,"| No| finger| 1) Noun: As a unit of measure (M.E.) it represents the breadth of a finger, about three-quarters of an inch.Verb: early 15c., “to touch or point to with the finger”, also the meaning "identify a criminal".| yes| lord| 1)from O.E. hlaford "master of a household, ruler, superior," also "God"2) The verb meaning "to play the lord, domineer" is from late 14c.; to lord it is from 1570s.| 1)the meaning of lord as a noun is retained2) the verb meaning is not retained.| sister| Probably...
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