• bridge •
brij • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: 1. A structure connecting two otherwise separate places or things, such a bridge between two geological places separated by water, two teeth separated by a space, or simply separating two identical musical passages. 2. The forward deck of a ship from which it is navigated. 3. The upper bony section of the nose. 4. Billiards rest. 5. An electrical shunt.
Notes: Here is a word spelled and pronounced the same as an unrelated card game and the equally unrelated root of abridge. Bridged may be an adjective meaning "provided with a bridge" and bridgeless means "without a bridge". Bridge may be used as a verb meaning "to provide with a bridge" in the first sense of the noun.
In Play: This word has a literal meaning: "America has thousands of river bridges that are in poor repair." It may also be used metaphorically: "Renata became the bridge between her husband and his mother that they had lacked so long."
Word History: Today's Good Word was brycg in Old English from Proto-Germanic brugjo that also underlies Dutch brug, German Brücke, Swedish brygga, and Icelandic brú. Brugjo is a suffixed form of PIE bhr(e)u- "beam, bridge". With other suffixes we see the remains of this word in Russian brus and brevno "log, beam" and Serbian brvno "beam, footbridge". The Slavic (Bulgarian, Czech, Polish, Russian) word, most "bridge", comes from a PIE source similar to bhr(e)u-, mazdos "pole, mast", source also of English, Dutch, Swedish mast and German Mast. Does this mean the word traces back to the times when people crossed rivers and creeks on tree trunks, beams, or poles? (Now a thanks for this deep glimpse in our history is owed Barbara Beeton, who is most active in the Agora.)
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