Saturday, January 28, 2006
This word originated in Scotland
Where else would you find glamour but on a windswept Scottish heath? Though you might look elsewhere for glamour today, the Scottish dialect of English is where all other English speakers got the word. Of course the Scots had a more serious meaning for it.
Originally it meant nothing more or less than grammar, the study of the proper form of words and sentences. This was back in the Middle Ages, when only a few clerics and clerks (both words have the same origin) knew how to write. To others, grammar meant something mysterious and magical, as it still does to many who wrestle with the language today. Eventually grammar came to have a secondary meaning of "magic."
In Scots, the word had an l instead of the first r. We find writers from Scotland using this magical glamour in English as early as 1720. Later in the eighteenth century, the poet Robert Burns writes of
And the novelist Sir Walter Scott discussed the magical glamour in his Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft (1830).
In the twentieth century, it was apparently American usage that transferred the glamour of magic to the glamour of fashion, personality, and life style. To make the word even more glamorous, Americans retained the British our ending instead of changing it to or as we usually do (in words like color and flavor).
WordNet information about glamour
WordNet 1.7.1 Copyright © 2001 by Princeton University. All rights reserved. More from WordNet
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