Etymology Day, Part Two

For Part 2 in an ongoing series of words and phrases I have wondered about their meanings, we are greeted with far-fetched and foible. For some reason, my days have been filled with wondrous f-words. No, not that f-word!

The adjective ‘far-fetched’ first appeared in the mid 1500’s replacing the earlier term ‘far-fet’ meaning forced or strained. ‘Fetched’ comes from the Old English ‘fecchen’ meaning to go and get. “Far-fetched’ describes something that was gotten from afar. It came to mean something that was unlikely or a far distance away from the truth.

sharp-but-weakphoto credit

In 1648, a common word for the “weak point of a blade” was foible. Extending the meaning to “a weak point of character” was first in use around 1674.

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