Hot and Cold

Here’s something that’s been bothering me, and no doubt has kept you awake at night as well…

Take a look at the word for ‘hot’ in many European languages: chaud in French, caldo in Italian, calido in Spanish, calidus in Latin. So how did we end up with the word cold which means exactly the opposite?

Well, the answer, of course, is that our words for hot and cold have Germanic rather than Latin roots. Our cold is like the German kalt and the Norwegian kulde, but I can’t help feeling this must have caused confusion throughout history. Interestingly, the Germanic word apparently derives from the Latin as well, but the Latin for frost, gelu.

So now you know.

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© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser