Posts Tagged ‘philology’

sweet suite

May 29, 2012

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We can infer that our next questioneer Paul was waiting so long for his doctor’s appointment, he finished all of the 8-year-old copies of You magazine and Gardeners’ Almanac, and had to occupy his mind with other concerns:

Whilst at the doctor’s today I heard a woman explain to her child (hope it was her child – otherwise she was a really posh kidnapper) that the waiting room we were in at Medical Suite 2 was called a suite because it was a collection of rooms and not because it was tasty to eat.

Answer me this: what has a collection of rooms or music got to do with a sugar-based confection? Why are sweets called ‘sweets’ and how does the word relate to ‘suite’, if indeed it does?

Indeed it does not, aside from being a homophone. ‘Sweet’ descended from the Old English ‘swete’, which came from the Latin ‘suavis’ meaning pleasant. Because sweets are pleasant to eat, right?

Meanwhile ‘suite’ is nicked from the French ‘suite’, which means a room or set of rooms. As to why that is the case, I’m sorry to say that etymology in French is far beyond my capabilities.

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