Etymology
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Words related to a-

atwitter (adv.)

"in a twitter," 1833, from a- (1) + twitter.

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atwixt (adv.)

"between, betwixt," late 14c., atwix, atwixen, from a- (1) + Middle English twix, twixt "among" (see betwixt). The unetymological -t begins by mid-15c. (compare amidst).

awaken (v.)

Middle English awakenen, from Old English awæcnan (intransitive), "to spring into being, arise, originate," also, less often, "to wake up;" earlier onwæcnan, from a- (1) "on" + wæcnan (see waken). The transitive meaning "to rouse from sleep" is recorded from 1510s; the figurative sense of "stir up, rouse to activity" is from c. 1600.

Originally with a strong declension (past tense awoc, past participle awacen), already in Old English it was confused with awake (v.) and a weak past tense awæcnede (modern awakened) emerged and has since become the accepted form, with awoke and awoken transferred to awake. Subtle shades of distinction determine the use of awake or awaken in modern English. For distinctions of usage, see wake (v.). Related: Awakening.

awash (adj.)

1825, originally nautical, "on the level of, flush with" the water, from a- (1) "on" + wash (n.). The figurative use is by 1912.

away (adv.)

Middle English awei, from late Old English aweg, earlier on weg "on from this (that) place;" see a- (1) + way (n.).

The meaning "from one's own or accustomed place" is from c. 1300; that of "from one state or condition to another" is from mid-14c.; that of "from one's possession (give away, throw away) is from c. 1400. Colloquial use for "without delay" (fire away, also right away) is from the earlier sense of "onward in time" (16c.). The meaning "at such a distance" (a mile away) is by 1712. Intensive use (as in away back) is American English, attested by 1818. Of sporting events played at the other team's field or court, by 1893.

aweigh (adv., adj.)
of an anchor, "raised, perpendicular," 1620s, nautical, from a- (1) + weigh.
awhirl (adv.)
"whirling," 1837, from a- (1) + whirl (v.).
awry (adv.)
late 14c., "crooked, askew, turned or twisted to one side," from a- (1) "on" + wry (adj.).
week (n.)

Old English wucu, wice, etc., from Proto-Germanic *wikō(n)- (source also of Old Norse vika, Old Frisian wike, Middle Dutch weke, Old High German wecha, German woche), probably originally with the sense of "a turning" or "succession" (compare Gothic wikon "in the course of," Old Norse vika "sea-mile," originally "change of oar," Old English wican "yield, give way"), from PIE root *weik- (2) "to bend, to wind." The vowel sound seems to have been uncertain in Old and Middle English and -e-, -i-, -o-, -u-, -y-, and various diphthongs are attested for it.

"Meaning primarily 'change, alteration,' the word may once have denoted some earlier time division, such as the 'change of moon, half month,' ... but there is no positive evidence of this" [Buck]. No evidence of a native Germanic week before contact with the Romans. The seven-day week is ancient, probably originating from the 28-day lunar cycle, divisible into four periods of seven day, at the end of each of which the moon enters a new phase. Reinforced during the spread of Christianity by the ancient Jewish seven-day week.

As a Roman astrological convention it was borrowed by other European peoples; the Germanic tribes substituting their own deities for those of the Romans, without regard to planets. The Coligny calendar suggests a Celtic division of the month into halves; the regular Greek division of the month was into three decades; and the Romans also had a market week of nine days. Phrase a week, as in eight days a week recorded by 1540s; see a- (1).

Greek planetary names [for the days of the week] ... are attested for the early centuries of our era, but their use was apparently restricted to certain circles; at any rate they never became popular. In Rome, on the other hand, the planetary names became the established popular terms, too strongly intrenched to be displaced by the eccl[esiastical] names, and spreading through most of western Europe. [Carl Darling Buck, "A Dictionary of Selected Synonyms in the Principal Indo-European Languages," 1949]

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