OED clusters

Today’s “word of the day” from the OED was “femme incomprise”. The list of nearby words contains:

  • femme (first quote 1814, from a letter of Byron)
  • femme de chambre (first quote 1741)
  • femme de ménage (first quote 1826)
  • femme du monde (first quote 1849)
  • femme fatale (first quote 1879; one wouldn’t guess that this is taken from an article in that well-known journal of cosmopolitan sophisticates, the St Louis Globe Democrat)
  • femme incomprise (first quote 1841)

I wonder if there is a bigger cluster of foreign words with a common root?

The other one I know and like, though it is not in strictly alphabetic order, is also quite impressive:

  • simpatico, simpatica (first quote 1864, “The Frau Professorin was less ‘simpatica’”, from the memoir of a certain H. Sidgwick)
  • sympathique (first quote 1859, in a letter of Queen Victoria, “The sight of a professor or learned man alarms me, and is not sympathique to me”)
  • sympathisch (first quote 1911)

 

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Kowalski

I am a professor of mathematics at ETH Zürich since 2008.

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