Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Etymology Today from M-W: garner
1 a : granary b : a grain bin
*2 : something that is collected : accumulation

Many English speakers are familiar with the verb "garner," meaning "to acquire by effort" or "to collect," but not everyone knows the verb's older meaning, "to gather into a granary." Fewer still know the noun "garner," which is less common in contemporary use (even though it dates from the 12th century and is older than the verb). The original "granary" sense of the noun "garner" is found mainly in older literary contexts, such as these lines of verse from Sir Walter Scott's "The Bride of Lammermoor": "Or, from the garner-door, on ether borne, / The chaff flies devious from the winnow'd corn."

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