Are the English word ‘fart’ and the German word ‘fahrt’ etymologically related? Let’s find out.
First off, let me just editorialize a bit and say that if they aren’t, they should be, right? Fahrt is like a ride or drive. Fahren (the German infinitive verb) means to drive or ride. A “fart” is moving air. Farts will also cause people to move away quickly from you. So there’s that too. There’s just too much movement for both of them for them to not be related.
Ok, now for some facts. Maybe not actual facts, but stuff we have found on the Internet so they seem like facts. Someone authoritative has written something so we should believe it, right?
We need to go back to Proto-Germanic, right? English and German are both
descended from this language (it’s important to remember that English is not descended from German; it’s descended from the grandparent, or great-grandparent of German. Because all languages are constantly, but slowly, evolving)
According to wiktionary.org, the etymology of “fahrt” is descended from
the Proto-Germanic word “fardi”. This meant “journey” or “voyage”.
One thing that is cool to think about is all the other words that are descended from this word. Both in English and other languages.
For instance, the German word for horse is “Pferd”, not too far away from Fahrt/ford/fjord still.
In English, at least American English, we have sayings (but not often used I should add) like “how’s it faring” or “how is she faring”.
And then we have other, related words such as the nouns “fare”. “What is the fare for the trip”? So “fardi” or “journey” turned into a paid ticket.
My hometown, Jacksonville, Florida, was once called Cowford. It was called this because the town was located at the narrowest point on a very wide river (like 5km wide in some places). So the settlers “forded” their cows across the river there.
The Norwegian “Fjords”. There it is again! They needed to journey or otherwise travel across the fjords, right?
One German word that I just noticed this morning that uses “fahr” is “Gefahr”, or
danger. Maybe this is cognate? Almost has to be.
Let’s see. Yes! “Gefahr” is cognate with “fear” which is descended from the Proto-Germanic fērō So when you went on a journey, you underwent risk and may not return. Probably quite often 1,000 years ago. So the word for journey became
synonymous with risk and _fear_. Makes sense.
The further down this rabbit hole I go, the more cognates and usages of “f**r” I think of. There’s the surely related English “ferry” which will take you somewhere.
There are hundreds more, if not thousands. Forth/foreward/fore are all about going forward (there it is again). They are literally popping in my mind faster than I can type them.
Journeys went _far_ away. There’s another.
Ok that was a bit of a tangent. Back to English “fart”. Let’s check out the etymology of this. I haven’t looked it up yet. I think it is going to turn out not to be related, and I’ll be sad. Here goes nothing (talk about an idiom that doesn’t make sense).
Ok, so there is not much to this one, etymologically speaking. The English word “fart” is descended from the Proto-Germanic word “*fertaną”. I’m pretty disappointed. I wonder if we go back further if there is another connection. I’ve got a bad case of confirmation bias working here but that’s ok. No one gets hurt by this confirmation bias. I hope.
Kind of makes you wonder about the company “Ford”, and why the family is called that. Perhaps they lived near a river or took people for journeys ages ago?
Ok, anyways. That was my etymological ponderance for the day. Until next time.