Another conjecture would derive beach < bleach < Old English blǽce, < blác white, with loss of l, of which there is however no evidence.
The idea here is that a beach contains sand and pebbles that are bleached white by the sun.
The earliest definitions of "bleach" are related to whiteness, not to the chemical associated with the term today:
†1. Whiteness, paleness. Obs.
1400 Pol. Rel. & L. Poems (1866) 255 Brest & hert was bete to bleche.
The more mainstream suggestion regarding "beach" is openly available on etymonline:
1530s, "loose, water-worn pebbles of the seashore," probably from a dialectal survival of Old English bece, bece "stream," from Proto-Germanic *bakiz. Extended to loose, pebbly shores (1590s), and in dialect around Sussex and Kent beach still has the meaning "pebbles worn by the waves." French grève shows the same evolution.
I tried to find other sources of the suggestion that "beach" shares an etymological relationship with "bleach." It is mentioned on Word Detective:
As for the origin of “beach,” theories range from the Old Norse “bakki” (“bank,” as of a stream) to the Old English “baece” (stream) to “beach” being a mutation of “bleach” (as stones are bleached by the sun and water).
I haven't been able to find much more about the question in my own research.
So the question(s):
- Is there any evidence linking the word "beach" with "bleach?"
- If not, what is the origin of this suggestion?
- If there is evidence pointing to an alternative explanation, what is the evidence?