Thursday, February 05, 2004

Etymology Today from M-W: bosky \BAHSS-kee\

1 : having abundant trees or shrubs
2 : of or relating to a woods

"Bosk," "busk," "bush" - in Middle English these were all variant spellings of a word meaning "shrub." "Bush" is still familiar to the modern ear, and "busk" can still be heard in a few places in the dialects of northern Britain. "Bosk" too survived in English dialects, although it disappeared from the written language, and in the 16th century it provided the root for the woodsy adjective "bosky." Since its formation, "bosky" has been firmly rooted in our language, and its widespread popularity seems to have resurrected its parental form. By 1814 "bosk" (also spelled "bosque") had reappeared in writing, but this time with the meaning "a small wooded area."

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