Exploring the strange and wonderful English language, one word at a time.
Saturday, February 11, 2012
Ore \awr\ or \ohr\ , noun;
1. A metal-bearing mineral or rock, or a native metal, that can be mined at a profit
2. A mineral or natural product serving as a source of some nonmetallic substance, as sulfur
Ore dates to the 12th century and is the result of a convergence of two Old English words: ora ("ore, unworked metal") and ar ("brass, copper, bronze"). Ora is related to ear, which meant "earth," and ar meant "brass, copper, bronze" from Proto-Germanic *ajiz- from Proto-Indo-European *aus- ("gold"). It took until the 17th century for the words to be fully assimilated and the result was the form ar took on the meaning of ora.