Saturday, September 02, 2006

When Black meant White

English is such an odd language, but did you know that the word 'black' once meant 'white'?

In Middle English, blac, blak or blake technically meant 'lacking in colour'. Of course, if something lacks colour, it could be said to be black or it could be said to be white. During the Middle Ages, both these definitions existed side by side. Finally, in England, the modern meaning of black, as in dark, won out. In France, however, the opposite held true and the word blanc (white) in French is actually derived from the same root as black in English. Compare this with the word blank in English. Are blanks usually black or white?

Check for more interesting word histories.


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