Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I would guess that this word is derived from waste (english) + weir (german)? Can anyone provide a more definitive derivation explanation? (couldn't find anything via etymonline.com) Will keep googling for more info and update if I find anything interesting.

share|improve this question
1  
I believe 'weir' is also an English word. –  Jamie May 24 '11 at 4:15
    
ya, I was just totally guessing. :) –  Mr_CryptoPrime May 24 '11 at 4:17
    
Nice guess, the word 'weir' looks really weird. –  Jamie May 24 '11 at 4:24
add comment

2 Answers

up vote 0 down vote accepted

Here are the etymologies:

"waste" is a derivative from the Latin word vāstus.

"Weir" comes from the Old English word wer, to dam up. Wer in turns come from the German word Wehr.

So actually its "waste"(Latin) + "weir"(German)

share|improve this answer
add comment

I just had to split up the terms and search for them individually:

waste:

c.1200, "desolate regions," from O.Fr. wast, from L. vastum, neut. of vastus "waste" (see waste (v.)); replacing O.E. westen, woesten "a desert, wilderness," from the Latin word. Meaning "useless expenditure" is recorded from c.1300; sense of "refuse matter" is attested from early 15c. Waste basket first recorded 1850. Waste-paper first recorded 1580s.

weir:

O.E. wer "dam, fence, enclosure," especially one for catching fish (related to werian "dam up"), from P.Gmc. *warjanan (cf. O.N. ver, O.Fris., M.Du. were, Du. weer, O.H.G. wari, Ger. Wehr "defense, protection," Goth. warjan "to defend, protect"), from PIE *wer- "to cover, shut" (cf. Skt. vatah "enclosure," vrnoti "covers, wraps, shuts;" Lith. uzveriu "to shut, to close;" O.Pers. *pari-varaka "protective;" L. (op)erire "to cover;" O.C.S. vora "sealed, closed," vreti "shut;" O.Ir. feronn "field," prop. "enclosed land")

So you were right Jamie, weir is primarily from Old English, but as you can see from the lengthy etymology, it also may have been derived from proto-Germanic, Latin, Sanskrit, Old Persian and number of other languages.

share|improve this answer
1  
FWIW, the word ‘waste-weir’ is mentioned in the OED under ‘waste’. It doesn't provide any etymology, but provides three citations, dated 1793, 1840, and 1868 respectively: 1. R. Mylne Rep. Thames “There was Seven Inches of Water running over at the Waste Weir at Boulter's Old Lock” 2. H. S. Tanner Canals & Rail Roads U.S. 264 “Waste weir, a water guage; a cut at the side of a canal by which the surplus water of canals is carried off”. 3. Chamb. Encycl. X. 516/2 “There is also the waste-weir, for the purpose of preventing a reservoir embankment being overtopped by floods”. –  user3286 May 24 '11 at 6:03
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.