Mr Bean, Hleahtor-Smiþ

The seeds of the modern English we speak and write today are found sown within our ancient Anglo Saxon heritage.

For the evidence of this claim, look no further than these seven ancient words:

Breast-hoard, perhaps? Good guess if you thought that. It literally means breast-treasure or, liberally, the heart, the mind, the soul, our deep and personal feelings.

You may guess this as literally candle-tree and, if you did, you’d be correct. Today, we might say candelabra.

This one is earth apples. Anglo Saxons used the term to mean cucumbers.

If you think this one looks like self-eater that’s because it’s the Anglo Saxon word for cannibal. I’m sure you prefer some eorþæppla!

Literally, sea-flood. We say high-tide. Same thing!

Now this one’s a little tricky. You see dreám and think that means dream, right? For the Anglo Saxons, dreám meant joy or pleasure. Gléo meant glee, so those two words are literally similar. Together, gléo-dreám meant glee-joy. Here’s the twist though. It liberally means the feeling of pleasure specifically derived from listening to music! I told you it was tricky.

Now the meaning of this will put a grin on your face. Hleahtor is the Anglo Saxon word for laughter. Smiþ mean smith. So we have laughter-smith, or a person skilled in making you laugh, a comedian. Who’d have thought? Rowan Atkinson: hleahtor-smiþ.

Mr Bean

You see how it works.

The Anglo Saxon base to English is accessible, logically applied and often fun.

Enjoy it. Anglo Saxon is your linguistic heritage.

5 thoughts on “Mr Bean, Hleahtor-Smiþ

  1. They’re great finds. It’s interesting that eorþæppla is earth apples meaning cucumbers, when the French version of earth apples, pomme de terre, means potatoes.

    Will definitely try to fit gléo-dreám into future conversations though, that’s great.

    Liked by 1 person

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