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Recently I posted an answer about the etymology of goodbye, in that answer I included a reference that cited Gid be with you, which was dated 1400-1499. The phrase was mentioned in Diachronic Pragmatics: Seven case studies in English illocutionary development, and written by Dr. Leslie K. Arnovick

Below I include a cropped screenshot showing the citation in table 6.1, on page 99.

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Sceptical, and fascinated, I wanted to find out more. But try as I did, I could not find any online references that confirmed Gid (meaning God) was Middle English.

  1. Etymonline says

Old English god "supreme being, deity; the Christian God; image of a god; godlike person," from Proto-Germanic *guthan (source also of Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Dutch god, Old High German got, German Gott, Old Norse guð, Gothic guþ), from PIE *ghut- "that which is invoked" (source also of Old Church Slavonic zovo "to call," Sanskrit huta- "invoked," an epithet of Indra), from root *gheu(e)- "to call, invoke."

  1. Wikipedia's page for God (word) basically repeats Etymonline but in greater detail.

  2. Wiktionary informs that gid can refer to a sheep disease; an obsolete term for a fiddle; or Scots for good. For scrupulousness, I also checked the wiktionary entries for: Dutch gód, Swedish göd, Icelandic goð and Old High German got

  3. Wiktionary also directed me to guid, which is cited in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales; however, it is an archaic spelling variant of good.

  4. Merriam-Webster states that the sheep disease called gid is a back-formation of giddy, and dates it from 1601.

  5. Under the etymology of giddy, M-W says

Middle English gidy mad, foolish, from Old English gydig possessed, mad; akin to Old English god god.


Questions

  1. Is Gid Middle English for God? Or is “Gid be with you” a misprint?
  2. Did giddy originally mean to be possessed by God?
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OED does place the etymology of "giddy" squarely as one possessed by a god.

Old English gidig insane, is shown by its guttural initial to be a graphic variant of gydig < prehistoric gudīgo- , apparently < Old Germanic gudom god n. and >int. The primary sense thus appears to be ‘possessed by a god, ἔνθεος ’; compare Old English ylfig insane, lit. ‘elf-possessed’, similarly < ælf elf n.1

Early alternate spellings include "gidie," "gidy," and "gidi."

By 1556, "gid" was a term for a brain illness in sheep, likely related to the implication of insanity. A source cited at 1745 offers "giddiness" or "gid" as a term for this disease:

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The other Day you lost a Sheep by the Gid, or Giddiness.

Nothing I could find in OED appeared to indicate that "Gid" was a precursor of "God," though it seems to have been an alternate spelling at some points in time.

God:

Cognate with Old Frisian god, Old Dutch god (Middle Dutch, Dutch god), Old Saxon god (Middle Low German got, (inflected) gōd-, godd-)


According to Bosworth-Toller Anglo-Saxon Dictionary, "gid" or "gyd" meant a poem, song, proverb, or riddle earlier than the meaning related to sheep illness.

Gid oft wrecen (a song oft sung) [recited], Beo. Th. 2135; B, 1065.

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