I always love to research the original meanings (etymology) and evolution of words and terms. This I sometimes do even with terms I use often because it helps my use when writing and speaking. I love to share the etymology of words with our children and friends so today’s word is BLACK.
Some people are aware that I intentionally do not use the terms “black” nor “white” etc to describe “race” of people because there is only one race of humans. Many people don’t bat an eye over the political connotations of classifying people this way as well. Maybe being made aware of how the people who create and implement terror on earth get us to participate through the corruption of language will help us bring change!
Old English blæc “absolutely dark, absorbing all light, the color of soot or coal,” from Proto-Germanic *blakaz “burned” (source also of Old Norse blakkr “dark,” Old High German blah “black,” Swedish bläck “ink,” Dutch blaken “to burn”), from PIE *bhleg- “to burn, gleam, shine, flash” (source also of Greek phlegein “to burn, scorch,” Latin flagrare “to blaze, glow, burn”), from root *bhel-(1) “to shine, flash, burn. The same root produced Old English blac “bright, shining, glittering, pale;” the connecting notions being, perhaps, “fire” (bright) and “burned” (dark). The usual Old English word for “black” was sweart (see swart). According to OED: “In ME. it is often doubtful whether blac, blak, blake, means ‘black, dark,’ or ‘pale, colourless, wan, livid.’ ” Used of dark-skinned people in Old English.”
When branching off the etymology of BLACK in English, we go further back to BHEL…
Proto-Indo-European root meaning “to shine, flash, burn,” also “shining white” and forming words for bright colors. It forms all or part of: beluga; Beltane; black; blancmange; blanch; blank; blanket; blaze (n.1) “bright flame, fire;” bleach; bleak; blemish; blench; blende; blend; blind; blindfold; blitzkrieg; blond; blue (adj.1); blush; conflagration; deflagration; effulgence; effulgent; flagrant; flambe; flambeau; flamboyant; flame; flamingo; flammable; Flavian; Flavius; fulgent; fulminate; inflame; inflammable; phlegm; phlegmatic; phlogiston; phlox; purblind; refulgent; riboflavin. It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit bhrajate “shines;” Greek phlegein “to burn;” Latin flamma “flame,” fulmen “lightning,” fulgere “to shine, flash,” flagrare “to burn, blaze, glow;” Old Church Slavonic belu “white;” Lithuanian balnas “pale.”
A friend shared this video I found helpful as well:
Does this information change how you look at the term BLACK? If so how?