Babe or baby or child

Posted by ESC on November 27, 2001

In Reply to: Babe or baby posted by ESC on November 27, 2001

: : This is for a homework assignment. If u know the answer. Email me cause I dont come here very often.

: BABE - noun. Before 1393, apparently from "batan" (probably before 1200); perhaps ultimately from a child's word.

: BABY - noun. About 1378, "baby," "babi," "babee," a diminutive for of "babe."

: From the ": The Origins of American English Words" by Robert K. Barnhart (HarperCollins Publishers, New York, 1995). Page 51.

BABY - "Like mama and papa, 'baby' and the contemporaneous 'babe' are probably imitative of the burbling noises made by an infant that has not yet learned to talk. In Old English, the term for what we would now call a 'baby' was 'child,' and it seems only to have been from about the 11th century that 'child' began to extend its range to the slightly more mature age which it now covers. Then when the word 'baby' came into the language, it was used synonymously with this developed sense of 'child,' and only gradually came to refer to infants not yet capable of speech or walking." From the "Dictionary of Word Origins: the Histories of More Than 8,000 English-Language Words" by John Ayto (Arcade Publishing, New York, 1990). Page 47.