(1 syl.). This is an example of the strange changes which come
over some words. The Slavi were a tribe which once dwelt on the banks
of the Dnieper, and were so called from slav (noble,
illustrious); but as, in the lower ages of the Roman empire, vast
multitudes of them were spread over Europe in the condition of captive
servants, the word came to signify a slave. Similarly, Goths means the good or godlike men; but since the invasion of the Goths the
word has become synonymous with barbarous, bad, ungodlike.
is simply “dis-traho,” as diversion is “di-verto.” The
French still employ the word for recreation or amusement, but when we talk of being distracted we mean anything but being amused or
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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