Ancient Word of the Day: An

Throw open the windows of your soul

An: ‘To breath’ from Proto-Indo-European

If you empty your lungs you make an AHHHH sound on the exhale. The Proto-Indo-European word for this onomatopoeic sound is An.

The word an remains the same in Anglo-Saxon, Old English, Icelandic, Swedish and Dutch.

The ancient sound of an even exists within the word Human and Anmal. After all, when creatures die, they cease to have any an left in them.

Prana: The Breath of Life from Sanskrit.

Olivia Laing, The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone

Animism: The belief that all things, even rocks and trees have a living soul within them.

Unanimous: A group in agreement of the same idea.

Animalcules and Animalillia: The world’s smallest animals.

Microscopic treasures: Abstract art discovered under the microscope
Intake of a humped bladderwort (Utricularia gibba), a freshwater carnivorous plant (100x) (Igor Siwanowicz) Source: Imgur

Sanguinary: Means ‘of the blood’ in Latin. It came to mean a ruddy or reddish complexion, and also a cheerful, confident and positive disposition.

The Wound Man from Wellcome Library’s MS. 290 — Source (CC BY 4.0).


An Etymological Dictionary of the English Language By Walter W. Skeat (1910)

A Concise Dictionary of Middle English From A.D. 1150 To 1580 by A. L. Mayhew and Walter W. Skeat (1888)

Medieval Bodies by Jake Hartnell

Published by Content Catnip

Content Catnip is a quirky internet wunderkammer written by an Intergalactic Space Māori named Content Catnip. Join me as I meander through the quirky and curious aspects of history, indigenous spirituality, the natural world, animals, art, storytelling, books, philosophy, travel, Māori culture and loads more.

6 thoughts on “Ancient Word of the Day: An

    1. I’m glad you enjoy these posts Cheche, yes language origins are so fascinating! I would love to study this, but there aren’t too many jobs in this area so instead I just blog about it. Thank you for reading and take care my friend


      1. This is great, with time and more research bringing it our here may end up creating more jobs. Stay safe


    1. I’m glad you enjoyed this River, yes burrowing into the origins of language is so enjoyable. Thanks for reading 🙂


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