laundry, lavender

Like “lava” and “lavatory,” “laundry” also comes from the Latin lavāre ‘to wash.’ In Middle English “v” and “u” were alternate ways of writing the same letter.

 

“Lavender” used to mean a ‘washerwoman or laundress,’ so it’s easy to guess that the lavender plant got its name because it was used in the wash to give springtime freshness to grungy clothing. But that hypothesis has fallen into question, according to the OED Online. Because the earliest form of the plant name appears to be livendula the editors believe it may connected with Latin līvēre to be livid or bluish.

 

 

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