20 September 2007

burgle or burglarize

I've always found Americanisms to be peculiar and wondered why they say burglarize instead of burgle. Thanks to WordWatch, this is the answer
...What’s odd is that it looks – to users of both British and Australian English – to be unnecessary.

However, it seems as though the Americans may have beaten us to the punch on this one.

The history is this:

“Burglar” is an old term from legal Latin, in use in English from the 13th century.

But for centuries it was a noun that didn’t have a verb.

The “burglar” broke in to steal, but there wasn’t a single word to name what he did.

Until, that is, the late 19th century. In 1872 the verb “to burgle” first appeared in English, and that’s the word most familiar to us today.

But a year earlier, in 1871, the Americans got tired of waiting for the English to coin a verb and they coined their own: “burglarize.”

It may seem odd, but it was first.
So there you have it. Still, it sounds tidier to say it with two syllables instead of three.

Bring on the election.

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