Wednesday, September 16, 2009

word: nanny

I wasn't going to post about Jane Austen and Names by Maggie Lane, a book that a friend and fellow book club member ordered through Interlibrary Loan after we discussed Pride and Prejudice, but flipping through it I learned an interesting tidbit that I just had to share.

I'd never given a second thought to the word nanny. Nowadays we use it (with lowercase N) to refer to a childminder. Originally, I learned in Jane Austen and Names, Nanny was a nickname for someone named Anne, but was acceptable only for a servant (otherwise you would call your Annes by Nan or, later, Nancy). It's so interesting to think about how the meaning of a word changed over time, especially in cases such as this, where you can imagine a very clear progression.

1 comment:

  1. It is interesting to learn about word origins. Thanks for sharing that fun tidbit, Karen.