Etymology: Endew

deriving from the Greek for 'true' (eteos/etymos) and 'word' (logos)

Curious about the origin of a word or term? Send it to us and we shall go forth and investigate.

Maybe it’s a marker for how language changes; maybe I’m not as word savvy as I like to think! But when I saw the word endew recently, I automatically reached for the Macquarie.

Wait, no I didn’t. First I tut-tutted about the skills of the proofreader in letting this obvious slip-up through. Then, just before I sat back smugly, I reached for the Macquarie.

And what did I find? Nothing!

Sweet. Score: me – one, The Age – nil.

As I mentally drafted my letter to the Age editorial team, gifting them free advice on language, I browsed endow.

And there, a few entries down, was endue. Buried in the Middle English definitions of that odd word, was endew.

Mystery solved. Score: me – nil, The Age – one.

Endue /ԑn ̍̕dju

1. to put on; assume

2. to invest or endow with (some gift, quality, facility); endued with life [ME endew (en) from OF enduire]

So if you’re looking for a new (old) word to describe a gift or an investment, let me endow you with endue or its even rarer form, endew. Best of all, both are Scrabble-friendly!

Sally Holdsworth
Communication subcommittee