Exploring the strange and wonderful English language, one word at a time.
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Welcome to the word Rolf! My baby was born Monday, weighing 8lbs and 21.5 inches long. We're all very excited (and a little tired) around here!
Baby dates to the late 14th century from babi, a diminutive form of baban ("babe"). Baban dates to the early 13th century and is probably imitative of baby talk, though in some languages the cognate means "old woman." Curiously, that's the end of the line, etymologically speaking. Presumably we've had a word for baby as long as we've had language, but the Oxford English Dictionary and other sources just stop at 1393 with babe. If you have any further insight, please share!