Printable Version
Pronunciation: yor Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, mass (no plural)

Meaning: Long ago, in the distant past.

Notes: Today's word never occurs except in the phrase of yore. Down in the southeastern US, your is pronounced yore. I'm sure in other dialect areas it is pronounced the same way. This word is common enough, but has no derivational relatives. Those who haven't used it themselves have certainly read it.

In Play: The most common phrase containing this word is 'in days of yore', but it may be used in many other phrases: "Now that she is 70 years old, the tattoos of yore covering her body are being distorted by her wrinkled skin." Do you remember the mobile phones of yore that looked and felt like bricks? Anything reminding us of the past is fair game for this word: "Watching the political hate-mongers in the US media makes me long for the civility of yore."

Word History: In Old English today's Good Word was geara "of years (past)", originally the genitive plural of gear "year" and akin to Dutch jaar and German Jahr "year". The Germanic words derived from Proto-Indo-European yer- "year, season", which emerged in Avestan as yare "year" and Greek hora "year, season", also "any part of a day, hour". The Greek word is visible in the English loan word horoscope, a way of seeing the year. French borrowed horos, converted it to houre, and passed it on to English as hour. The same PIE word showed up in Old Slavic jaru "summer", today Czech jaro "spring". In Latin the same PIE word became hornus "this year's" and Old Persian dušiyaram "famine", literally "bad year", comprising duši- "bad" + yaram "year".

Dr. Goodword,

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