bran

You may not like how this ends.

Bran is good for you, right? We make muffins with it. We make cereal with it. Some of us even eat it just as it is – and ready ourselves for a trip to the “throne.” It’s the part of the grain that keeps our system running! Regardless of your moral fibre, you will at least get your physical fibre – that grand old gut feeling – if you’ve got your bran.

But do you like it? Even if you like how it comes out in the end – which will depend entirely on your personal needs – do you like how it goes in? Do you find it flavourful? Or even pleasant? I mean, we’re eating seed husks here. Not all of us are game for that.

Etymology suggests that bran has not always been so well liked. The history is disputed, but the common account traces it through Old French and Celtic languages to Proto-Indo-European *bʰreHg– ‘smell, have a strong odour’, also source of modern fragrant – and Welsh braen ‘stench’ and Irish bréan ‘rancid, fetid’ (so, I guess, also ‘spoiled’; and, in an idiom, it means ‘fed up with, sick of’). So says Wiktionary, which is a lovely resource, but the Oxford English Dictionary is skeptical, though it doesn’t give a competing account. You may well point out that bran doesn’t have much of a smell, but if you see it as crap – stuff you throw out after you’ve milled the grains – then it goes on the crap heap and can be referred to as crap (or another word with a similar meaning).

Oh, Wiktionary also points out that bran is a name for the common carrion crow – borrowed into English (perhaps, if any English speaker uses it as such) from the Celtic languages: Breton, Cornish, and Irish all have bran as the word for ‘crow’ or ‘raven’.

Is all that a bit too stark? In at least one popular book and TV series, Bran is also short for Brandon. And that’s a bit nicer. Brandon comes, generally, from an English toponym formed from brom ‘gorse, broom’ plus dun ‘hill’. However, its modern use is also somewhat under influence of Brendan, which traces to the Old Irish name Bréanainn, which comes from a root meaning ‘prince’.

Which brings us back to sitting on thrones, I guess. As bran will.

One response to “bran

  1. Pingback: bran — Sesquiotica – IMOLE FC

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