Thursday, November 07, 2019
Our word "race," meaning a lineage or breed, is etymologically linked to our word "race" meaning a test of speed, in part because breeding faster racehorses took up a lot of space in the English mind.Screen image:
I don't think there's any etymological link between these two homonyms.
From Dr Dunstan Lowe:
After consulting the Oxford English Dictionary, I just wanted to confirm your suspicion, in today's blog post, that there is no etymological link between 'race' (competition) and 'race' (ethnicity). The former first appeared in connection with horsebreeding as Italian razzo (then razza), whose origin is disputed but is probably either from ratio or generatio. The latter is a borrowing from early Scandinavian ras, meaning onrush (originally of water, and hence also a word for a water-channel). In fact the word 'rush' comes from the same origin.
Of course, there can be perceived folk-etymological links between words that have no basis in fact. That is the position to which your author would presumably resort.