Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Pool




Shawn asked about the word pool -- its origin, meaning, and use. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, here are three separate nouns with that spelling and two verbs.

Pool, n.1 is based on words in Dutch, Danish, Lithuanian, and German that meant a hole, bog, or swamp. Historically, variant meanings developed this way:
  • a small body of still or standing water
  • a lake of any size
  • a whirlpool
  • a puddle
  • a still, deep place in a river or stream
  • something resembling a pool
  • an oil-producing formation
  • a swimming pool

Pool, n.2 has an unknown origin. It is defined as a measure of work or materials used in roofing and flooring.

Pool, n.3 came from a French word meaning the collective stakes in a game. The meanings fell out this way:
  • a card game in which there is a collective stake to be won
  • the kitty or pot
  • any of various types of billiards
  • a shooting contest in which the competitors pay a certain sum for every shot fired
  • the proceeds divided among the backers of the winner in a sporting contest
  • an organized system of gambling on the results of football matches
  • an informal wager in which a group of participants stake identical (usually low) sums on a quantifiable aspect of an (often non-competitive) event
  • a fencing contest in which each member of one team fights each member of the other
  • a group of contestants or teams who compete against each other, especially to decide which should advance to the next round of a tournament
  • a common business fund from which backing is provided, especially for speculation on financial markets
  • a common supply of goods, commodities, or resources available for use when needed
  • a group of people whose abilities or services may be drawn upon when needed, or who share duties within an organization
  • a group of selected journalists and photographers who have special access to news sources, esp. in government or the military
  • a register of freelance dockers or sailors seeking employment

Pool, v.1 shares its origin with pool, n.1. Among its meanings are
  • to be or become marshy
  • of liquid, to stand or stagnate
  • of blood, to accumulate in parts of the vein system
  • to make a hole in a rock or the ground

Pool, v.2 is connected to pool, n.3.  A couple of the meanings are
  • to combine resources for the common benefit
  • to inform on someone

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

Nook edition

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