Etymology
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Words related to ransack

barn (n.)

"covered building for the storage of farm produce," Old English bereærn "barn," literally "barley house," from bere "barley" (see barley) + aern "house; place for storing," metathesized from *rann, *rasn (source also of Old Norse rann "large house," Gothic razn "house," Old English rest "resting place").

For the formation and the second element, compare saltern "a salt-works," from Old English sealtærn "saltworks;" Old English horsern "stable." In Anglo-Saxon England, barley was a primary grain crop.

Barley was not always the only crop grown as the data recovered at Bishopstone might suggest but it is always the most commonly represented, followed by wheat and then rye and oats. [C.J. Arnold, "An Archaeology of the Early Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms," 1988, p.36]

Another word for "barn" in Old English was beretun, "barley enclosure" (from tun "enclosure, house"), which accounts for the many Barton place names on the English map, and the common surname. Applied from early 18c. to any large, barn-like building. Barn door has been used figuratively for "broad target" since 1670s and "great size" since 1540s. Barn-owl attested by 1670s. Barn-raising "a collective effort by neighbors or community members to erect the frame of a barn for one of them, accompanied by a social gathering" is attested by 1849.

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seek (v.)

Old English secan "inquire, search for; pursue; long for, wish for, desire; look for, expect from," influenced by Old Norse soekja, both from Proto-Germanic *sakanan (source also of Old Saxon sokian, Old Frisian seka, Middle Dutch soekan, Old High German suohhan, German suchen, Gothic sokjan), from PIE *sag-yo-, from root *sag- "to track down, seek out" (source also of Latin sagire "to perceive quickly or keenly," sagus "presaging, predicting," Old Irish saigim "seek"). The natural modern form of the Anglo-Saxon word as uninfluenced by Norse is in beseech. Related: Sought; seeking.

sack (v.1)

1540s, "to plunder, (a place) after storming and taking," from French sac (n.) "bag," in the phrase mettre à sac "put it in a bag," a military leader's command to his troops to plunder a city (from or cognate with Italian sacco, which had the same meanings), from Vulgar Latin *saccare "to plunder," originally "to put plundered things into a sack," from Latin saccus "bag" (see sack (n.1)). The notion beneath the verb probably is "fill your bags with booty."

The U.S. football sense of "tackle the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage" (by 1969) probably is extended from the notion of "to plunder," though there may be a felt sense of "put in a bag involved. As a noun, "an act of tackling the quarterback for a loss," by 1972.

ramshackle (adj.)

"loosely joined, ill-made or out of good condition; chaotic or likely to collapse," 1809, an alternative form of ramshackled, earlier ranshackled (1670s), an alteration of ransackled, past participle of ransackle (from the same source as ransack). "Said chiefly of carriages and houses" [OED]. This form of the word seems to have been originally Scottish.

Reading over this note to an American gentleman, he seemed to take alarm, lest the word ramshackle should be palmed on his country. I take it home willingly, as a Scotticism, and one well applied, as may be afterwards shown. [Robert Gourlay, "General Introduction to a Statistical Account of Upper Canada," London, 1822]

Jamieson's "Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language" (1825) has it as a noun meaning "thoughtless, ignorant fellow."