Etymology
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ker- 
U.S. slang prefix, by 1836 as che-, 1843 as ker-, possibly from influence of German or Dutch ge-, past participial prefixes; or ultimately echoic of the sound of the fall of some heavy body.
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wh- 

respelling of Old English hw- attested from 11c., but not the common form until after c. 1400. It represents PIE *kw-; in German reduced to simple w-, in Scandinavian as hv-, kv-, or v-.

It also was added unetymologically to some borrowed words (whisk, whiskey) and some native words formerly spelled with simple w- or h- (whole, whore). In the 15c. flowering of its use it also threatened to change the spelling of hot, home and many more. In northern English 16c.-18c., sometimes altered to quh- (see Q). Proper pronunciation has been much in dispute in educated speech.

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