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This blog is about the fascinating, fun, and challenging things about the English language. I hope to entertain you and to help you with problems or just questions you might have with spelling and usage. I go beyond just stating what is right and what is wrong, and provide some history or some tips to help you remember. Is something puzzling you? Feel free to email me at wordlady.barber@gmail.com.
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Friday, June 29, 2012

Fare

If you have a summer trip planned, there will be fares involved: airfares, train fares, bus fares, and taxi fares. In Old English, “fare” was the verb meaning “travel” (as the German “fahren” still does). So “farewell” actually meant, “Have a good trip!”. The verb now survives only in the phrases “fare well (or badly)” and in “seafarer”. The noun “fare” has survived better; originally designating a trip, it subsequently became the price you pay for one.

1 comment:

  1. How does food fare fit in with the travel fare?

    ReplyDelete

About Me

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Canada's Word Lady, Katherine Barber is an expert on the English language and a frequent guest on radio and television. She was Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Oxford Dictionary. Her witty and informative talks on the stories behind our words are very popular. Contact her at wordlady.barber@gmail.com to book her for speaking engagements; she can tailor her talks to almost any subject. She is also available as an expert witness for lawsuits.