Sunday, 5 July 2015

'Hap' - words linking to Luck or Chance

As discussed in a previous blog post, ‘happy’ was introduced by the Vikings and meant luck and chance. A number of common words in English continue to use this root, sharing the same idea of luck and chance.

‘Happy’ – once meant luck, good fortune and chance before it started its life as an adjective meaning joyous, content and in good spirits.
‘Haphazard’ – today, haphazard means peril, danger and risk and was coined in 1573.  Hazard was originally a dice game which involved a great degree of chance. In this sense, ‘haphazard’ translates literally as ‘a danger of chance’.
‘Happened’ – something that occurs by chance.
‘Perhaps’ – something that happens through or by chance.

‘Hapless’ – once meant out of luck or unfortunate before the meaning shifted to mean someone who is clumsy.

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