Entries linking to fresh-water
c. 1200, fresh, also fersh, "unsalted; pure; sweet; eager;" the modern form is a metathesis of Old English fersc, of water, "not salt, unsalted," itself transposed from Proto-Germanic *friskaz (source also of Old Frisian fersk, Middle Dutch versch, Dutch vers, Old High German frisc, German frisch "fresh"). Probably cognate with Old Church Slavonic presinu "fresh," Lithuanian preskas "sweet."
Sense of "new, recent" is from c. 1300; that of "not stale or worn" is from early 14c.; of memories from mid-14c. The metathesis, and the expanded Middle English senses of "new," "pure," "eager" probably are by influence of (or from) Old French fres (fem. fresche; Modern French frais "fresh, cool"), which is from Proto-Germanic *frisko-, and thus related to the English word. The Germanic root also is the source of Italian and Spanish fresco. Related: Freshly. Fresh pursuit in law is pursuit of the wrong-doer while the crime is fresh.
Old English wæter, from Proto-Germanic *watr- (source also of Old Saxon watar, Old Frisian wetir, Dutch water, Old High German wazzar, German Wasser, Old Norse vatn, Gothic wato "water"), from PIE *wod-or, suffixed form of root *wed- (1) "water; wet."
To keep (one's) head above water in the figurative sense is recorded from 1742. Water cooler is recorded from 1846; water polo from 1884; water torture from 1928. Linguists believe PIE had two root words for water: *ap- and *wed-. The first (preserved in Sanskrit apah as well as Punjab and julep) was "animate," referring to water as a living force; the latter referred to it as an inanimate substance. The same probably was true of fire (n.).
updated on May 29, 2021