Monday, May 29, 2006

Mister/Master - where does it come from? 

In case you didn't know, this came up in a class today...

master (n.)
O.E. mægester "one having control or authority," from L. magister "chief, head, director, teacher" (cf. O.Fr. maistre, Fr. maître, It. maestro, Ger. Meister), infl. in M.E. by O.Fr. maistre, from L. magister, contrastive adj. from magis (adv.) "more," itself a comp. of magnus "great."

In academic senses (from M.L. magister) it is attested from 1380s, originally a degree conveying authority to teach in the universities. The verb is attested from c.1225.

I love etymology. :-)

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