Saturday, March 29, 2014

"Traust!" Or As We Say Today, "Trust"

Photo: Alex Lentati
In 1014 Vikings ruled England. The British Museum marks the anniversary with a blockbuster exhibition, Vikings: Life and Legend, featuring the remains of a 121-foot Viking ship (imagine a low-slung superyacht with lots of oars).

One of the most reassuring words the English could hear from a Viking invader was "traust." It indicated the giant on one's doorstep did not have rape and pillage on his to-do list. He was offering protection and support.

"Traust" passed into English as "trust." By the early 1400s it gained a legal meaning: "confidence placed in one who holds or enjoys the use of property entrusted to him by its legal owner."

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