Sunday, 25 August 2013

Short and Sweet – The Etymology of ‘Daisy’

As it’s the summer bank holiday, I thought I’d talk about something cheerful, sweet and quite poetical, and that is how daisies got their name.

Simply, the name comes from the Anglo-Saxons, who called the flower a ‘day’s eye’ (dæges eage), because as with many flowers, the petals open during daylight and close when it gets dark. The Anglo-Saxons noticed this, so when the petals opened to reveal the sun-like disk growing in the centre of the flower, the called it an eye – in effect, the eye of the day. As so commonly is the case with English, over time, the word has shortened and has become easier to pronounce.

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