By the time romanticus reached Old French, as romanz, it was being widely used to refer to stories in the local language, as opposed to latinus. Since many of these tales told of brave knights and their chivalrous rescues of fair maidens, resulting inevitably in love, the words ‘romance’ and ‘romantic’ took on the meanings […]

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Not all wl- words are so negative, however. Wlite, denoting beauty or splendour, is related to the Old Norse litr, meaning colour or countenance, which gave us the dialectal lit – a colour, hue, or dye. You might have thought that there aren’t any words in English that begin with the letters wl-. And, if […]

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