Our Word Wait

by James Merryweather

I have a scrap of paper clipped in a ring binder of odds and ends upon which are scribbled lots of words related to our word WAIT.It is a mere sketch of ideas, written by and occasionally added to by Columba James who, among many other things, was a multi-linguist who enjoyed exercising her mind with linguistic connections. My additions in italics.

There’s no order to it, so I’ll just lay it out roughly as it is and leave it to somebody else to make use of it and, one day, produce an authoritative derivation for our word.

It shows how ‘W’ & ‘G’ and ‘W’ & ‘V’ are interchangeable, particularly in words relating to guard, ward, gate, wait etc. which, of course, are significant.

warjan:     war (Eng.)     guerre (Fr.)     guerra (Sp.)
(to show relationship of ‘G’ & ‘W’)

guard     ward     warden     warder (wardress – female)     *garden     gate

gauntlet (Fr. guards the wrists) – vantar (Swedish: gloves) gaiter (for protection of shins)

French verb guetter (lie in wait for). [do we have the term guet = watchman/wait in French]

Cassell’s dictionary derives gaite from guetter

gayte     geyte  =  watchman

guet (Fr. watch, guard, watchman)     tour du guet (watch tower) try a Google picture search of these!

The Ripon Wakeman (watchman with horn, even today)     Irish wake (watch for the dead?)

Naval: watch

watch watchman wait wächter (Ger.)     vekter (Nor.)     vigiles (etc. in England)

wacian (see Bridge)     vigil Regis

garderobe (stores clothing in urea-saturated atmosphere, or protection against moths)     wardrobe (clothes store – protector)     gardyloo (watch out!)     gare (1653 Look out!)     garage (vehicle store – protector)     garrison (defended place)     *garth (enclosed ground)     ward (of court or guardian)     wardship     ward (action of watching or guarding-OED)     warding

I’ve just found another of Columba’s paper scraps with notes on the same topic:

Fr. Guillaume = Eng. William
?Win = Gain?

It. Vespa = Fr. Guêpe = Eng. Wasp
Fr. Gant = Sw. Gantar = Eng. Gauntlet (glove)
Guarantee = Warranty

Fr. Gâtar = Sp. Gastar = Eng. Waste
Garth – gård – garden
Is there any connection with garden?

THEN THERE’S THE LATIN: I got this off the Internet
The Vigiles: The vigiles, also founded by Augustus, served as fire fighters and night watchmen in the city of Rome. They were originally drawn from the ranks of freedmen and were not really soldiers, although they were organized on a quasi-military basis. The commander of the vigiles was a prefect of equestrian rank (the praefectus vigilum). They were divided into seven cohorts led by tribunes; each cohort was responsible for two of the 14 regions of the city.

The Vigiles of Imperial Rome. P. K. B. Reynolds.

Rome, like many other ancient cities, relied on the good behaviour of its citizens to maintain order. During the latter years of the Republic, as politics became more violent, the Romans saw the need for a publicly paid police force. The first emperor Augustus institutionalised the vigiles as the policemen of Rome. Reynolds’ book is a description of this force, its recruitment, location in the city, and its role in the daily life of imperial Rome. ISBN 0-89005-552-1. Pp + pll. Pb. $15.00

(Fire Fighters)
Location: UrbsRomae
Primus Pilus: Vacant
7 Cohortes

Fire-Aid International, Vigiles House, 14 Meadow Close, Burley, Ringwood, Hampshire, BH24 4EJ, ENGLAND.

Organized Firefighting Began in Ancient Rome:

The Roman emperor Augustus is credited with instituting a corps of fire-fighting vigiles (“watchmen”) in 24 BC. Regulations for checking and preventing fires were developed. In the pre-industrial era most cities had watchmen who sounded an alarm at signs of fire. The principal piece of fire-fighting equipment in ancient Rome and into early modern times was the bucket, passed from hand-to-hand to deliver water to the fire. Another important fire-fighting tool was the ax, used to remove the fuel and prevent the spread of fire as well as to make openings that would allow heat and smoke to escape a burning building. In major conflagrations long hooks with ropes were used to pull down buildings in the path of an approaching fire to create firebreaks. When eplosives were available, they would be used for this same purpose. Following the Great Fire of London in 1666, fire brigades were formed by insurance companies. The government was not involved until 1865, when these brigades became London’s Metropolitan Fire Brigade. The first modern standards for the operation of a fire department were not established until 1830, in Edinburgh, Scotland. These standards explained, for the first time, what was expected of a good fire department. After a major fire in Boston in 1631, the first fire regulation in America was established. In 1648 in New Amsterdam (now New York) fire wardens were appointed, thereby establishing the beginnings of the first public fire department in North America.