each and ever each

The two previous postings dealt with edad/age, eterno/eternal, and other words that we’ve acquired, via Latin, from the Indo-European root *aiw- that meant ‘vital force, eternity.’ That root also gave rise to our word eón/aeon or eon, which the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica said was “a term often used in Greek (aion) to denote an indefinite or infinite duration of time; and hence, by metonymy, a being that exists for ever. In the latter sense it was chiefly used by the Gnostic sects to denote those eternal beings or manifestations which emanated from the one incomprehensible and ineffable God.” Geologists use the term non-specifically as ‘a major unit of time comprising two or more eras,’ and specifically as ‘a period of a billion years.’

Native English descendants of Indo-European *aiw- include ever ‘always,’ which has no cognates in the other Germanic languages; its negative never; the combined forever; and every, which coalesced from the Old English forerunner of the phrase ever each. As a result, the familiar English phrase each and every is historically even more redundant than it seems, being etymologically equivalent to ‘each and ever each.’

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jayne Cotten
    Jan 07, 2011 @ 14:14:51

    One of my favorite comic books and movies is “Aeon Flux”. Had never considered the meaning of the movie’s title before your posting. Thanks!


  2. wordconnections
    Jan 07, 2011 @ 16:52:14

    I could say it’s been aeons since I read the comics or saw that movie, but it wouldn’t be true; I haven’t read or seen them. I’m glad to hear that etymology has enlightened you about the title.


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©2011–2016 Steven Schwartzman
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