Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

Etymology of an angel

Posted by Fredsvenn on August 24, 2014


Fallen Angel

From Gal to Galli and Angel

An angel is a supernatural being or spirit, often depicted in humanoid form with feathered wings on their backs and halos around their heads, found in various religions and mythologies. In art, angels are often depicted with bird-like wings on their back, a halo, robes and various forms of glowing light.

The theological study of angels is known as “angelology”. In Zoroastrianism and Abrahamic religions they are often depicted as benevolent celestial beings who act as intermediaries between Heaven and Earth, or as guardian spirits or a guiding influence.

The term “angel” has also been expanded to various notions of spirits found in many other religious traditions. Other roles of angels include protecting and guiding human beings, and carrying out God’s tasks.

The word angel is a 1400 AD fusion of Old English engel (with hard -g-) and Old French angele, both from Latin angelus, from Greek angelos “messenger, envoy, one that announces,” possibly related to angaros “mounted courier”. Both derive from Late Latin angelus “messenger of God,” which in turn was borrowed from Late Greek ἄγγελος ángelos.

According to R. S. P. Beekes, ángelos itself may be “an Oriental loan, like ἄγγαρος [“Persian mounted courier”].” The word’s earliest form is Mycenaean a-ke-ro attested in Linear B syllabic script. Watkins compares Sanskrit ajira- “swift;” Klein suggests Semitic sources. Used in Scriptural translations for Hebrew mal’akh (yehowah) “messenger (of Jehovah),” from base l-‘-k “to send.” An Old English word for it was aerendgast, literally “errand-spirit.”

Errand (also errant, arrand, arrant) comes from Middle English erande, erende, from Old English ǣrende (message; mission; embassy; answer, news, tidings, business, care), from Proto-Germanic airundiją (“message, errand”), perhaps from Proto-Indo-European *ey- (“to go”).

It is cognate with German dialectal Erend, Ernd (“order, contract, task, errand”), Danish ærinde (“errand”), Swedish ärende (“errand”), Norwegian ærend (“errand”), Icelandic eyrindi, erindi (“errand”).

Errand-ghost (equivalent to errand +‎ ghost) comes from Old English ǣrendgāst (“spiritual messenger, angel”). Ærendgast From (ǣrende +‎ gāst). Old Saxon ārundi, Old High German āruntī, Old Norse eyrindi (Swedish ärende) is from Proto-Germanic *airundiją (“message”) cognate with Old English ǣrende, Old High German āruntī, Old Norse eyrindi (Swedish ärende). It is apparently related to Old English ēru or ar, which means messenger. Eru (plural vera) means to be.

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