Friday, July 1, 2011

Etymology of Doom

The etymology of doom reveals a lot about the complicated relationship that mankind has had with the concepts of law and judgement throughout history. The modern sense of the term has been associated with implications of fear and ruin since the early 1600s. Originally, however, doom is rooted in the Proto-Indo-European dhe-, meaning "to put or set" and has been used for a variety of words associated with "law" throughout linguistic history.

In Old English, doom was used to refer to law and judgement, and the term dombec stood for a book of laws. Over the century, doom became increasingly associated with the final judgement at the end of days prophesied by the Christian tradition. The finality of that judgement and the fear associated with the day of reckoning eventually evolved into the modern sense of doom that we use today.

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