Did You Know that the Word Weird Didn’t Always Mean Strange?
I love it when you come across random things that not only make you turn your head a bit but also teach you something. Luckily, today just so happens to be one of those days. Turns out that the word weird originally had a different meaning than it does today. Let’s just say that it used to have more of a mythical aura to it.
If you go back far enough into history, you’ll see that the word weird actually used to mean “having power to control fate”. You can relate this definition to the Fates of Greek mythology. They had the ability to determine someone’s, for lack of a better word, fate on Earth. They could end a life with the simple cut of a thread if they wanted to.
You can see this version of the word weird in the popular Shakespeare play, Macbeth. If you can remember back to your high school English class, there were the three “Weird Sisters”. Who, just so happen, to be witches that are pretty similar to the Fates of Greek Mythology. Weird, right?
It wasn’t until the early 1800s that what we know as weird came to be. Trust me, there is a long evolution to this word but it all stems from the Fates that we have already talked about. Basically, the interpretations of the Fates became known as strange, odd-looking, frightening, etc. Eventually, it all leads to weird becoming an adjective (a word or phrase naming an attribute) that means strange, different, and so on. Who would have thought that there was so much that went into a word’s definition being changed over the years?
Sources: merriam-webster.com, etymonline.com