This word has that food-receiving mouthfeel that comes from corn, plus the bit of acuity that comes from the a. Its object presents images of that squirrel favourite, the tree-seed shaped like the head of a medieval yokel with a pageboy bob (or perhaps Dorothy Hamill). Nothing in the shape of the word readily suggests that, though; the closest is the co, a bit like an acorn on its side. (Scramble it and you get caron, a diacritical mark that looks just a little like an acorn cap turned upside down.) It’s just an unassuming little word, really, but one about which many assumptions have been made. It ought not to have the corn at all, etymologically; it appears to stem from the Gothic aker “field,” originally “open country” – source of acre – by way of the derivative akran, which would have signified “fruit of the open country or forest.” Others trace it to óg, an Indo-European root for “fruit, berry.” Wherever it came from, the sense over time narrowed to refer to the oak’s seed specifically. This led to versions such as oke-corn and oke-horn. Most recently, the misconjecture eggcorn has become a word to refer to such folk-etymological misconjectures generally. When we see acorn out on a date, its Betty and Veronica are squash and woodpecker (an acorn squash is a squash that resembles a huge acorn, and an acorn woodpecker is a type of woodpecker that hoards acorns).
Be a patron!Support Sesquiotica and get extra premium content and goodies. Starts as low as $1 a month! Find out more and subscribe on Patreon.com
I am for hireI earn my living as an independent editor, writer, and educator. Find out more and contact me at jamesharbeck.com.
Buy the T-shirt (or coffee mug or hip flask)
Wear it proudly:
I operate on a NEED-TO-KNOW basis. I need to know EVERYTHING.
Buy it at cafepress.ca/sesquiphernalia
12 Gifts for Writers ebook – free download
Buy my books
Buy my books on Lulu.com:
- Confessions of a Word Lush (paperback)
- Confessions of a Word Lush (ebook)
- Songs of Love and Grammar (paperback)
- Songs of Love and Grammar (ebook)
- 12 Gifts for Writers (print edition)
You can also get them on Amazon.com. Please note that I make less than half as much per book if you buy them there, however.
Word Tasting Notes Google groupGet just the word tasting notes daily by email – join the Google Word Tasting Notes group.
- An article title, "An article title 'An article title needs commas' needs commas," needs commas
- 365 words for drunk
- confident in or about?
- Can a metaphor be hyperbole too?
- around, about, approximately
- turn the other cheek
- I plight thee my troth
- To be, or not to be, that is the question
- Coffice Space
- from the bookshelf
- language and linguistics
- new old words
- Poetry Minute and a Half
- pronunciation tips
- sentence tastings
- The Week
- Word Country
- word pictures
- word portraits
- word reviews
- word sommelier
- word tasting notes