Friday, December 25, 2009

Pray Tell Me What This Means

It's come to my attention that people commonly believe that Shakespeare coined the phrase "pray tell" and launched its popularity. It may be that he expanded the knowledge of the term, but in reality people used it long before ol' Will brought it to their attention. In this case, the word pray escapes religious connotations and grew from the Latin precari into preier in Old French, and then became preien, to beg or beseech.

Lest you think that precari the end of that particular language trail, the verb came from a Latin noun, prex, meaning a prayer or earnest request. A ha! Now you see how the same word can be used in both Christmas and "pagan" celebrations without any sort of religious qualms. Certainly Shakespeare had little to do with that. Happy holidays to you all, whether you're praying for world peace or simply asking your sister why she thought you'd like those socks.