Saturday, November 20, 2010


Weal \WEEL\ , noun;
1. Well-being, prosperity, or happiness
2. A raised mark on the surface of the body produced by a blow
3. Obsolete: the state or body politic

According to
This word actually has two different etymologies depending on the definition. The sense of "well-being" comes from the Old English word wela meaning "wealth" or "welfare, well-being" in late Old English). The word derives from West Germanic *welon from the Proto-Indo-European base *wel- ("to wish, will"), which is also related to the adverb well.
The second definition dates to 1821 and is an alteration of wale that comes from Old English walu, which derives from Proto-Germanic *walo. Walu originally meant "ridge" in the sense of earth or stone ridges, but it later meant something like "ridge made on flesh by a lash." Wale has worn many hats over the centuries: it referred to the "horizontal planks which extend along a ship's sides" from the 13th century, then later the ridges of textile fabrics in the 1580s, and now something like "raised line."

*Today's word and the first definition were both taken from's 'Word of the Day' for Saturday, November 20

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