c. 1200, feuel, feul "fuel, material for burning," also figurative, from Old French foaille "fuel for heating," from Medieval Latin legal term focalia "right to demand material for making fire, right of cutting fuel," from classical Latin focalia "brushwood for fuel," from neuter plural of Latin focalis "pertaining to a hearth," from focus "hearth, fireplace"


It's that legal right to demand firewood that fascinates me.

@dredmorbius Also focus - fireplace or hearth. Interesting, I didn’t know that.

@tsturm If I'd known that I'd ... lost focus of the fact.

Etymologies are *fascinating*. Many are amazingly illuminating, others frustratingly vague or unknown. Either way, the meta-insight provided on language is hugely useful.

(Meta, checking just now, is a cognate of the German "mit": with, over, before, beyond.)

Another I'd just realised is that "forlorn" is a cognate of the German "verloren", both meaning "lost".

@tsturm A favourite is that "vodka" is literally "literal water".

I'm trying to remember if both "water" (and variants) and "aqua" come from the same root. I'd thought they did, but apparently not.

That said, vowel and consonant shifts and inclusions / droppings can create some really interesting variants. The vast set of names based on "Nikolous" for example. Everything from "Nick" to "Colya" to "Colette", and a few even further out.

@dredmorbius @tsturm > "vodka" is literally "literal water".

I'm not sure that's correct. Russian for "water" is "voda" (transliterated). "Vodka" is a derivative that sounds like a diminutive of water or, more generally, something related to kind of water. But not literally "water".

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