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#177620 - 06/20/08 10:29 AM Etymology of 'toddler'
gaius novus Offline
stranger

Registered: 06/20/08
Posts: 4
Me: "Do you know where the word 'toddler' comes from?"

Loving girlfriend: "Yeah, it's because the kid toddles around."

Me: "A common misconception. It's because the kid has reached the age to drink beer from a 'tod' - a stein."

Loving (though now dubious) girlfriend: "No, it's not."

Me: "Here, let me prove it."

Me: searches Internet high and low for vindication. Finds none.

So, my question to you, dear readers, is this: whence did this crazy idea pop into my head? I don't think I merely dreamt it. I hope you can help me regain my sanity and unbruise my ego.

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#177633 - 06/20/08 06:20 PM Re: Etymology of 'toddler' [Re: gaius novus]
Faldage Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
AHD says nothing about the etymology of toddler but defines it as "one who toddles". About the etymology of toddle it says merely "Origin unknown". Where you got your whack-a-doodle idea I haven't the foggiest. I don't even know where I get my whack-a-doodle ideas.

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#177635 - 06/20/08 07:22 PM Re: Etymology of 'toddler' [Re: Faldage]
zmjezhd Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/13/05
Posts: 3290
Loc: R'lyeh
whack-a-doodle ideas

The science fiction writer Harlan Ellison said he most often asked where he gets his ideas. He tells these folks Schenectady.

I note that tod is a (mainly British) weight term: "1. A unit of weight for wool, especially one equivalent to about 28 pounds (12.7 kilograms). 2. A bushy clump, as of ivy." A-H (link). Cockney rhyming slang has tod 'own' from Tod Sloane. (I am unfamiliar with the tod equals stein of beer; what language is that?) English toddy comes from Hindi tāṛī 'juice of the palmyra tree'. The derivation of toddler from toddle is unproblematic. Maybe toddler comes from German Tod because infants are the death of their parents.
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#177638 - 06/20/08 07:56 PM Re: Etymology of 'toddler' [Re: zmjezhd]
Zed Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/27/02
Posts: 2154
Loc: British Columbia, Canada
Apparently we can help with etymology but not with sanity or damaged egos.

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#177641 - 06/20/08 09:10 PM Re: Etymology of 'toddler' [Re: gaius novus]
The Pook Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/20/08
Posts: 1067
Loc: Tasmania
Here's an hypothesis to follow up. Perhaps it comes from Gk. topos, place, via the verbs topple and tottle. The etymological pedigree would then be:
topple becomes tottle, which gives rise to tottler, which would naturally change in pronunciation over time to toddler. And then the verb toddle comes from the noun toddler, not the other way round? Just an idea.

Totītle (tǒtīt'l) v. i. 1. To walk in a wavering, unsteady manner; to toddle; to topple.
[imp. & p. p. Tottled (tǒt"t'ld); p. pr. & vb. n. Tottling (tǒt"tlĭng).] Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, published 1913 by C. & G. Merriam Co.

top·ple \ˈtä-pəl\
Etymology:frequentative of top
Date:1590
intransitive verb: to fall from or as if from being top-heavy
transitive verb1: to cause to topple

In any case, whether the above is possible or not, the OP should remember that the woman is always right (even when she's not!).

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#177653 - 06/21/08 05:12 PM Re: Etymology of 'toddler' [Re: gaius novus]
Bigwig Rabbit Offline
newbie

Registered: 11/22/07
Posts: 33
Loc: California, USA
I say, let's invoke the Etymological Accords of Cornwall and Sandwich (1423), and declare the meaning as Gaius says because it is so much more interesting than just "one who toddles". Thus, henceforth, let it be known far and wide, that the etymology of "toddler" is, "one who drinks from a stein." There. The deed is done.


Edited by Bigwig Rabbit (06/21/08 05:13 PM)
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#177654 - 06/21/08 07:24 PM Re: Etymology of 'toddler' [Re: Bigwig Rabbit]
Faldage Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
 Originally Posted By: Bigwig Rabbit
I say, let's invoke the Etymological Accords of Cornwall and Sandwich (1423), and declare the meaning as Gaius says because it is so much more interesting than just "one who toddles". Thus, henceforth, let it be known far and wide, that the etymology of "toddler" is, "one who drinks from a stein." There. The deed is done.


Since one who drinks enough from a stein will degenerate to toddling, why not?

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#177655 - 06/21/08 08:23 PM Re: Etymology of 'toddler' [Re: Faldage]
zmjezhd Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/13/05
Posts: 3290
Loc: R'lyeh
stein

Stein's an interesting word. It's from German Steinkrug 'stone(ware) jug'. But the jug part got left off and the stone part got in.
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#177656 - 06/21/08 08:29 PM Re: Etymology of 'toddler' [Re: zmjezhd]
Myridon Offline
addict

Registered: 10/24/05
Posts: 557
Loc: Dallas, TX
That's why you can't drink blood from a stein!

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#177658 - 06/21/08 08:46 PM Re: Etymology of 'toddler' [Re: Myridon]
Bigwig Rabbit Offline
newbie

Registered: 11/22/07
Posts: 33
Loc: California, USA
I say we Invoke Article 3b of the Etymological Accord of Concord and Sandwich (1423) that states, "Ye shall not make puns with the etymological meanings of words, nor shall ye tolerate the bards that so doeth. The punishment for such shall beeth, one dunking in the River Rhine and a flogging with the Noodle of Worcestershire."


Edited by Bigwig Rabbit (06/21/08 08:53 PM)
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#207641 - 10/12/12 09:33 PM Re: Etymology of 'toddler' [Re: gaius novus]
PSTMD Offline
stranger

Registered: 10/12/12
Posts: 1
Loc: Tucson, AZ
Replying to and old topic but here goes:

I learned a similar story in Pediatric Residency. As I learned it, toddler derives from TOT (a small measure of rum). When one was a TOTTLER, one drank too many tots and stumbled. An infant was a small measure of an adult and also stumbled like a tottler. Hence the terms Tot and Toddler.

Google searches through the decades have failed to find supporting evidence, but it is still a fun story to tell new parents (with a historic-accuracy disclaimer)

PSTMD

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#207642 - 10/12/12 10:40 PM Re: Etymology of 'toddler' [Re: PSTMD]
Tromboniator Offline
old hand

Registered: 05/10/10
Posts: 810
Loc: Alaska
Well, just looking at Merriam-Webster it appears that toddle is at least 125 years older than tot, so I'm guessing that explodes THAT theory. It is a fun story, though.

Peter

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#207644 - 10/13/12 03:11 AM Re: Etymology of 'toddler' [Re: Tromboniator]
Candy Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/21/10
Posts: 1705
Loc: down under
Hi PSTMD...yes a fun story.

If a tot is a small measure of 'spirits' one would need a few to get toddled.

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#207647 - 10/13/12 11:48 AM Re: Etymology of 'toddler' [Re: Candy]
LukeJavan8 Online   sleepy
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 6313
Loc: Land of the Flat Water
And toddlers have plenty of spirit, more than enough to go around.
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#207648 - 10/13/12 11:51 AM Re: Etymology of 'toddler' [Re: Candy]
BranShea Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/23/06
Posts: 5282
Loc: Netherlands, the Hague
For me the toddler's story goes like this. Tod is a current Dutch word (sorry, I didn't invent it), tod means a rag or worthless piece of cloth. I always saw the English word toddler as a babe waddling in easy fabrics. Because of all the tumbling it does it is not worthwhile to dress it up in a smoking, tuxedo or fancy dress. So it hobbles around in easy non costly fabrics. * A tod als means a cherished piece of cloth or raggy cloth doll that a baby/toddler absolutely needs when it goes to sleep. Toddler and tod belong together.

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