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.

Groom for me as I know it means a man who tends to the horses, or and in the verb form, it is to take care of one's appearance. Then, why is it used to refer to the man of the marriage? Is there any etymological reasons?

share|improve this question

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

groom (n.1) c.1200, grome "male child, boy;" c.1300 as "youth, young man." No known cognates in other Germanic languages. Perhaps from O.E. *groma, related to growan "grow;" or from O.Fr. grommet "servant" (cf. M.E. gromet "ship's boy," early 13c.). Meaning "male servant who attends to horses" is from 1660s.

groom (n.2) husband-to-be at a wedding, c.1600, short for bridegroom, in which the second element is O.E. guma "man."

groom (v.) 1809, from groom (n.1) in its secondary sense of "male servant who attends to horses;" the transferred sense of "to tidy (oneself) up" is from 1843; figurative sense of "to prepare a candidate" is from 1887, originally in U.S. politics. Related: Groomed; grooming.

That's what EtymOnline gives for the groom. It seems these are two different words with same spelling and pronunciation.

share|improve this answer

As Etymonline reports, groom in the meaning of “husband-to-be at a wedding” is circa 1600. It is a shortening of bridegroom. Bridegroom itself is earlier, from the Old English brydguma (suitor), from bryd (bride) + guma (man). The Old English brydguma ending was altered in the 16th century to align with groom (in the sense of “boy”, “lad”).

It's nice to note that it's reportedly the only word in which the Old English guma (man) is still present. This guma, which comes from Proto Germanic guman, was displaced by its cognate human, from Middle French humain, from Latin humanus.

share|improve this answer
    
You beat me to it :) –  Philoto May 30 '11 at 8:54
    
@Philoto: 32 seconds, with formatting :) –  F'x May 30 '11 at 8:55

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.