Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Very Juicy...

Dear Spies,

Well, after all the excitement of finding a winner for that Puzzle, let's get back to some of those questions about where words come from.

One of the questions was about the word "juice."

Ah, the Word Spy remembers playing tennis as a little girl, and how when the score was even at 40-40, she would get very excited as the umpire called out "JUICE." At last! she thought, they were going to have a break and a nice glass of apple juice.

Alas, the umpire wasn't calling out "JUICE" at all but "DEUCE". (I think we'd better leave explaining where these funny tennis words like "love" and "deuce" come from for another post ...)

ANYWAY, getting back to JUICE, like lots of words it comes to English through French - remember how the French conquered England about a thousand years ago?  So the French word for juice is "jus" (with a silent "s"). It came to French from Latin, the language spoken by the ancient Romans. French is called a ROMANce language, which means most of its words come from Roman Latin. And the Latin word for a liquid like juice was "ius" (pronounced something like "yooss").

So that's why we say JUICE.

(Not DEUCE...)

yours, thirstily,

The Word Spy

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