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Re: OT: dadgum shire reaves

From:Rob Haden <magwich78@...>
Date:Saturday, February 26, 2005, 18:42
On Sat, 26 Feb 2005 02:30:09 -0000, caeruleancentaur
<caeruleancentaur@...> wrote:

>Man, little excites me more than good old English vocabulary!! In my >reading recently I came across a plural of "sheriff." I'm >embarrassed to say that I can't remember it exactly. It was >something like "shreaves." There is an adjective "shrieval," of or >pertaining to.... I assume the accent on the penult is because, in >the original compound "shire reave," the accent would have been >on "shire." > >Not to be confused with the Arabic import "sherif" (also "sharif") >with the accent on the ultimate. > >Charlie >
I didn't think about "sheriff" being related to "shire reeve" until I read your message. So I decided to look up its etymology. :) Turns out the compound is older than you think. According to the Microsoft Encarta Dictionary, "sheriff" comes from Old English sci:rgere:fa, literally "shire reeve" (sci:r + gere:fa). The stress would indeed have been on the first syllable, but how "sci:rgere:fa" became "sheriff" is beyond me, though I have heard that some English compounds reduce both members. Anyone have any thoughts on this? - Rob