Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Word of the day: eyot

The word of the day is eyot:

Old English íggað , ígeoð was perhaps a diminutive of íeg , íg , island (though the ordinary power of -að was to make abstract nouns, as in huntað hunting). The subsequent phonetic history is obscure: the normal descendant of íggað would be ieth (compare flieth ); the vowel of Middle English eyt might arise from an Old English variant égað , as in ég isle for íg (compare also Old Norse eið ‘peninsula,’ in Shetland eid ‘a tongue of land’); but the t is unexplained; the later -et , and mod. -ot , are artificial spellings after islet (Middle French islette ) and modern French îlot.
An islet or small isle; especially one in a river, as the aits or eyots of the Thames. (OED)

"After a while a small speck on the rim of the world resolved itself into a eyot or crag, so perilously perched that the waters of the fall swirled around it at the start of their long drop."

 - Terry Pratchett, "Close to the Edge", 1983

Not quite sure why he's saying "a eyot" instead of "an eyot".

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