Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Boring the Boorish Boar

The relationship—or supposed relationship—among bore, boor, and boar came up on the

program. Boar and bore are homophones, and while boor is pronounced differently, there could be a very slight overlap between bore and boor. A boor can bore you to death.

A boar is a male swine. It tracks back to an Old Saxon word, bêr, which meant swine.

A bore is a tiresome person who causes ennui. It may be connected to the French word bourrer, to stuff or satiate.

A boor is a rude, ill-bred person who lacks refinement. It was based on the Old English búr, short for the Old English gebúr, a farmer or peasant. In turn, that was based on búr, a dwelling, house, or cottage. Boor is cousin to neighbor, which may be translated as near-dweller.

This brings us to Boer, which was a Dutch-speaking colonist in South Africa, especially one engaged in agriculture or cattle-farming. It was based upon the Dutch word boer, a countryman, peasant, or farmer. This is, of course, the word boor in shallow disguise.

Available from McFarland & Co.: Word Parts Dictionary, 2nd edition

Nook edition

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