Monday, October 25, 2004



Robert Hendrickson, QPB Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins, 2nd edition (New York: Facts on File, 2004), has this to say about the origin of the word giddy (p. 295):
The Greek word that gives us giddy, first recorded in about 1000, translates as "possessed by a god." Giddy, however, started off meaning mad, insane, and foolish, in English, and today generally means frivolous and lighthearted, flighty, though it sometimes means to be dizzy or affected with vertigo.
There is no Greek word that gives us giddy. Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary gives the correct derivation, from Middle English gidy, itself from Old English gydig (possessed, mad), akin to Old English god. The ancient Greek equivalent of Old English gydig is entheos (full of a god, inspired, possessed), which occurs as early as Aeschylus (5th century B.C.). English enthusiastic is derived from Greek entheos.

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