Thursday, July 21, 2016

WheRe WorDs WandEr: an etymological hit, eating "fallen" food

Today's word is "offal" the internal organs and entrails of a butchered animal.

The word shares its etymology with several Germanic words: Frisian ├┤ffal, - the North-west corner of the Netherlands; German Abfall (Offall in some Western German dialects and in Luxem-bourgish), afval in Dutch andAfrikaansavfall in Norwegian and Swedish, and affald in Danish. These Germanic words all mean "garbage", or —literally— "off-fall", referring to that which has fallen off during butchering. 

However, these words are not often used to refer to food with the exception of Afrikaans in the agglutination afvalvleis (lit. "off-fall-meat") which does indeed mean offal.[3] For instance, the German word for offal is Innereien meaning innards and the Swedish word is "innanmat" literally meaning "inside-food". According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word entered Middle English from Middle Dutch in the form afval, derived from af (off) and vallen (fall).

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