more loanwords – „wanderlust“

Posted on: 21. September 2009

Since articles about German loanwords seem to be rather popular, I thought I’d write another, since I just stumbled upon a new one – wanderlust.

The word itself has been adapted unchanged from the German base (first heard in English conversations around the turn of the century), but the way it came to be in use is quite different from how a word usually travels across languages.

You see, both parts of the word, to wander and to lust, already exist (lust is directly derived from the Bible, and is the root for such words as lascivious, wander is a loanword from German / Dutch wandern / wondria) in the English language, and the meaning is the same as in German – so when an Englishman heard the word „Wanderslust“, there was a good chance that he put two and two together and understoof the German compound. Adaptation into English therefore was much easier – add the two English verbs together to form a compound. Now, the real question is if the word itself was adapted as a German loanword first, and people realized they could have just created a compound from both parts, or if they heard a German use the word, realized that the components existed in their language as well, and created an English version of the word. At this point, my etymology knowledge has run dry.




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