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Gingerly

Posted by ESC on June 02, 2000

In Reply to: Walking, moving. "gingerly" posted by HJR on June 02, 2000

: I sprained some back muscles the other day and upon approaching me, a friend remarked, "You're walking "gingerly." Just curious if anyone out there is familiar with the origin of this phrase.

The "Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins" by William and Mary Morris (HarperCollins, New York, 1977, 1988) says: "gingerly...The actual origin of 'gingerly' seems to be in the Old French word 'genzor,' the comparative form of 'gent,' meaning 'delicate.' There are other theories, including one that it comes from the Icelandic by way of Swedish...all authorities agree that the ginger in 'gingerly' is not the same as the ginger in your kitchen."