Openings, origins, etymologies

Meander.  late 16th cent. (as a noun): from Latin maeander, from Greek Maiandros, the name of a river (see Menderes) .

Wander.  Old English wandrian; related to wend and wind2.

Wend.  Old English wendan‘to turn, depart,’ of Germanic origin; related to Dutch and German wenden.

Wind.  Old English windan‘go rapidly,’‘twine,’ of Germanic origin; related to wander and wend.

Wonder.  Old English wundor (noun), wundrian (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch wonder and German Wunder, of unknown ultimate origin.

Mesmer.  (mesmerise/mesmerize).  Franz Friedrich Anton Mesmer (1734 – 1815), paper Mémoire sur la découverte du magnétisme animal to the Royal Academy of Sciences in 1779.  Benjamin Franklin was assigned to investigate (proto-peer review).

You can read about Mesmer elsewhere, but I once met a stout young German boy on a barrier island in Vietnam off of Nha Trang in 1995 who said to me, “Mesmer liked to take long hikes in the Alps.  He described feeling overwhelmed with beauty and rapture, as though all sense and logic became overwhelmed with a more innate natural immanence.  Thus, we have the word, ‘mesmerise.'”

Immanence.  mid 16th cent.: from late Latin immanent- ‘remaining within,’ from in- ‘in’ + manere ‘remain.’

I like this mythology better.

(All references taken from the Oxford Shorter English Dictionary, 6th ed. (2007).)


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