Friday, December 24, 2010


Chaffer \CHAF-er\ , verb;
1. To bargain; haggle
2. To bandy words; chatter
1. Bargaining; haggling

Dating to the early 13th century, cheffare meant "buying and selling" and probably came from an Old English compound ceap ("bargain, sale") + faru ("faring, going"). Later the word took on its "haggling" meaning and usage as a verb is recorded from the mid-14th century.

There is another chaffer (alternatively chafer) that refers to a type of beetle. That word has a different etymology, however, so the identical spelling is an accident of natural language change. It derives from Old English cefer ("beetle") and likely ultimately comes from Old Germanic *kafroz/*kafruz.

The second noun version also seems to have a different etymology than the other definitions listed. It comes from the verb chaff which is obviously related to the noun chaff, both of which have uncertain origins. It is not even clear which came first, the noun or the verb, so which derived from which is open to interpretation.

Today's word and the first definition were both taken from's 'Word of the Day' for Friday, December 24
Etymologies come from the Oxford English Dictionary and/or 

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