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#156615 - 03/04/06 03:23 PM Fey
Stag_Beetle Offline
newbie

Registered: 02/12/06
Posts: 35
Loc: Compost heap
What a shame. I don't think there's any other word with quite this meaning, nor will be, given that the concept is founded on superstition and we live in more pragmatic times.
It almost makes me wish I was Scottish.

Quote:



fey

adjective

giving an impression of vague unworldliness; having supernatural powers of clairvoyance; Scottish: fated to die or at the point of death

USAGE NOTE fey, fay Fey derives from the Old English faege (“doomed to die”) and carries the related sense “in an unusually excited state (like one about to die).” By an extension, the word came to mean “whimsical, otherworldly, eccentric,” perhaps from confusion with fay (= a fairy or elf). This shift in meaning was noticed as early as 1950. Today the word's original meaning is all but forgotten—e.g.: “An upsurge of book sales in cyberspace could have dramatic effects on the fortunes of the already fey and contradictory world of book publishing.” ( Washington Post, Aug. 4, 1997.) — BG



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#156616 - 03/04/06 08:09 PM Re: Fey
Stag_Beetle Offline
newbie

Registered: 02/12/06
Posts: 35
Loc: Compost heap
Uh oh... here comes the bad thread idea remorse...

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#206446 - 07/16/12 07:37 AM Re: Fey [Re: Stag_Beetle]
Lexonicus Offline
stranger

Registered: 07/16/12
Posts: 1
Yes Stag_Beetle, I quite agree. There are many words from the ancient language of Brythonic ( which predates " Old English," it was the language of King Arthur) that are common to all three of the branches of Gaelic, ( Welsh, Irish and Scottish). Fay ( faegh) is but one.

Fay has the connotation of being connected with the gods, much as the Greek heroes were in their various mythological cycles. Therefore its ancient meaning is not at all consistent with the modern meaning of "doomed to die." Its deeper meaning has to do with living with the energy of the gods of that ancient world, and incorporating their energy into everyday life. Some individuals were talented at this and as a result were sometimes unpredictable in their conduct. This is the root meaning of "fey." Modern men and women are fascinated with the associated fearlessness of many of these ancient ones, who were often fearless in the face of death. They lived with each foot in different worlds, the human realm, susceptible to it's various impermanences, and the realm of the gods, which knows no passage of time or impermanence.

Fey is a very important word. It is a gateway to our past.

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#206447 - 07/16/12 08:11 AM Re: Fey [Re: Lexonicus]
Faldage Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
Fey would seem to be a native English word. See Etymology On Line's entry. If it is common to the British Isles' Celtic languages it is probably because they got it from English. To say that they Brythonic languages predate Old English does not draw a good picture. The Goidelic (Irish and Scots Gaelic and Manx) and Brythonic (Welsh and Cornish) languages are in a completely different branch of the Indo-European languages from the Germanic group, of which English is an example.

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#206448 - 07/16/12 11:05 AM Re: Fey [Re: Faldage]
zmjezhd Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/13/05
Posts: 3290
Loc: R'lyeh
The Goidelic (Irish and Scots Gaelic and Manx) and Brythonic (Welsh and Cornish) languages

Let's not forget Breton, also of the Brythonic branch. There is another branch, the Continental, which includes Gaulish, and perhaps the other Celtic languages in Spain and Northern Italy / Southern Switzerland (e.g., Lepontic).

As for fey being Celtic. Do you have the root? Or any reflexes in individual Celtic languages? Fay in the sense of "fairy" is via Middle English from Old French. Fey, in the sense of "fated to die, doomed", is from Old English fǣge. "Fate, doom, destiny" in Welsh is tynged.
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#206452 - 07/16/12 03:37 PM Re: Fey [Re: Stag_Beetle]
Faldage Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
I didn't forget Breton. I was limiting myself to the languages of the British Isles.

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#206454 - 07/16/12 08:28 PM Re: Fey [Re: Faldage]
zmjezhd Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/13/05
Posts: 3290
Loc: R'lyeh
I didn't forget Breton. I was limiting myself to the languages of the British Isles.

Fair enough. It was called Breton because the speakers were refugees from Britain.
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Ceci n'est pas un seing.

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