What is the meaning of life? The answer is 5000 years old: it originates from the Proto-Indo-European word ‘*lip’ meaning, ‘to remain, persevere and continue’. The word was adopted into Old English as ‘līf’ about 1500 years ago, which also meant 'body' (like its Germanic predecessor).

In Middle English, ‘life’ began to mean not only the living organism itself, but the cause or source of living: ‘life’ became a possession taken away by death.


The word ‘sweet’ can be traced back to the Old English ‘swete’, an adjective that meant, ‘pleasing to the senses, mind or feelings’. Its origins are Proto-Indo-European (‘*swad’, Sanskrit svādu) which makes the word over 5000 years old.

'Sweet’ was used as a noun to mean ‘beloved one’ from 1300, as something easily managed from the 19thC , ‘the engine is more responsive and sweet than its predecessor’, and as an intensive from the 20thC , ‘sweet nothing’.


The origin of the word ‘play’ is unknown- English adopted the word ‘pleien’ meaning to ‘dance, leap for joy, and rejoice’ from Dutch in the later Middle Ages, which was adapted as ‘pleg(i)an’, ‘to exercise, or frolic’.

To ‘play’ also adopted the meaning to amuse or divert, ‘and young and old com forth to play on a sunshine Holyday’ (c. 1638). A ‘playmate’ was used to describe children’s friends from 1642. The sexual connotation was used from 1954.


"The word 'friend' is of Germanic origin, and existed in Old English as ‘frēond’ which was the present participle of the verb frēon, ‘to love’. The root of the verb was ‘frī-’ which meant ‘to like, love, or be affectionate to’. We can still see the remnants of this verb every day of the week- Friday or ‘day of Frigg’ is devoted to the Germanic goddess of love Frigg."

The Copy Team etymology series: thecopy.team/blog/origin-word-

"What ‘love’ means from person to person, let alone from century to century, is one of the most varied in the English language. The word ‘love’ was once ‘*leubh’, a word used by the Proto-Indo-Europeans approximately five thousand years ago to describe care and desire. When ‘love’ was incorporated into Old English as ‘lufu’, it had turned into both a noun to describe, ‘deep affection’ and its offspring verb, ‘to be very fond of’."

The Copy Team Etymology series: thecopy.team/blog/origin-word-

Origin of the Word Black. The word ‘black’ can be traced back five thousand years to the Proto-Indo-European word ‘bhleg’ meaning ‘to burn with black smoke’ or ‘to burn black with smoke’...

Read more from the Copy Team etymology series: thecopy.team/blog/origin-word-

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