Ethymological doublets are words originated from the same ethymological sourse, but differing in phonemic shape and meaning. they may enter the vocabulary by different routes. They are such pairs as shirt (a native word) — skirt (a borrowed word), canal (Latin) — channel (Fr.) — they represent two borrowings from different languages; others were borrowed from the same language twice, but in different periods: cavalry (Norm. Fr.) — chivalry (Par. Fr.).
A doublet may consist of a shortened word and the one from which it was dderived: history — story, defence — fence, shadow — shade, fentasy — fancy.
Ethymological triplets (groups of words of common root) occur rarer, but here are at least two examples: hospital (Lat) — hostel (Norm.Fr.) — hotel (Par.Fr.)
The changes a loan word had had to undergo depending on the date of its penetration are the main cause for the existence of the so-called etymological doublets.
Etymological doublets (or, by ellipsis, simply doublets) are two or more words of the same language which were derived by different routes from the same basic word. They differ to a certain degree in form, meaning and current usage. Two words at present slightly differentiated in meaning may have originally been dialectal variants of the same word. Thus, we find in doublets traces of Old English dialects. Examples are whole (in the old sense of 'healthy' or 'free from disease') and hale. The latter has survived in its original meaning and is preserved in the phrase hale and hearty. Both come from OE hal: the one by the normal development of OE a into o, the other from a northern dialect in which this modification did not take place. Similarly there are the doublets raid and road, their relationship remains clear in the term inroad which means 'a hostile incursion', 'a raid'. The verbs drag and draw both come from OE dragan.
The words shirt, shriek, share, shabby come down from Old English, whereas their respective doublets skirt, screech, scar and scabby are etymologically cognate Scandinavian borrowings. These doublets are characterized by a regular variation of sh and sc.
As an example of the same foreign word that has been borrowed twice at different times the doublets castle and château may be mentioned. Both words come from the Latin castellun 'fort'. This word passed into the northern dialect of Old French as castel, which was borrowed into Middle English as castle. In the Parisian dialect of Old French, on the other hand, it became chastel (a Latin hard c regularly became a ch in Central Old French). In modern French chastelbecame châteaux and was then separately borrowed into English meaning 'a French castle or a big country house'.
Another source of doublets may be due to the borrowing of different grammatical forms of the same word. Thus, the comparative of Latin super 'above' wassuperior 'higher, better', this was borrowed into English as superior 'high or higher in some quality or rank'. The superlative degree of the same Latin word wassupremus 'highest'. When this was borrowed into English it gave the adjective supreme 'outstanding, prominent, highest in rank'.
Sometimes the development of doublets is due to a combination of linguistic and extra-linguistic causes. The adjective stationary for instance, means 'not moving' and stationery n — 'writing paper, envelopes, pens, etc.' The first word is a regular derivative from the noun station to which the adjective-forming suffix -ary is added. The history of the second word is more complicated. In Medieval England most booksellers were travelling salesmen. Permanent bookstores were called stations, the salesmen of these were stationers and what they sold — stationery (with the noun suffix -ery as in grocery or bakery).
Not all doublets come in pairs. Examples of groups are: appreciate, appraise, apprize; astound, astonish, stun; kennel, channel, canal. The Latin word discus is the origin of a whole group of doublets:dais <— ME deis <— OF deis <— Lat discusdish <— ME dish <— OE disk <— Lat discusdisc/disk <— Lat discusdiscus (in sport) <— Lat discus
Other doublets that for the most part justify their names by coming in pairs show in their various ways the influence of the language or dialect systems which they passed before entering the English vocabulary. Compare words borrowed in Middle English from Parisian French: chase, chieftain, chattels, guard, gage with their doublets of Norman French origin: catch, captain, cattle, ward, wage.
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