Last week, we followed the French word “to move” as it morphed into the English word “budget.” That was fun, like being at the top of the roller coaster’s first hill and shooting down.


This is another very topical word, since non-military federal employees recently avoided unpaid furloughs due to the Congressional budget crisis.

The origin of the word is equally fascinating. The etymology information from Webster’s New World College Dictionary says it was “modeled on” the German ferlaub, which in the end came from for– and –laube.

Just like last week’s foray into French led us to the hinterlands of Latin, this week’s foray into German leads to Latin. For- ultimately came from Latin foris, (beyond, from without), taking a trip through French before it showed up in German, and then English. When it got to English, it gave us the words foreign, foray, forebear.

Goes to show you just how strong the impact of the Roman empire was, worldwide.

 Laube was a head-shaker. It means “permission” and is cousin to the word “leave,” in its use as a term for permission to be absent from work—military leave, for instance.


            BONUS: The word leave, meaning to “cause or allow to remain,” comes

           from the German bleiben, and they took it from the Indo-European leip,


            to smear. It lead to the  Latin limus, where we get our word, “lime.” Two

            completely separate origins, two  completely separate definitions, same word.



I doubt the furloughed federal workers would have felt they’d been given “permission” to be absent from, or beyond, work. They would have preferred to go to work and earn their paychecks; they like paying bills and eating food. But furlough is the term we use, whether the leave is forced on the employee or granted to the employee.


            ANOTHER BONUS: The Webster’s 1828 Dictionary spells it “furlow,”  and notes that it is a word “used only in military affairs. Interesting to see how language can expand a word.

Here’s the head scratching part. Laube most likely comes from the same Indo-European root, as our English words love and libido. They both come from leubh, meaning “like, desire.”

 Leave and love are cousins? Wow. Who knew?

 I don’t even know what to make of that! Do you?

 (There’s your Word Nerd Challenge for this week.)

 Blessings, fellow Word Nerds!