[Clayart] Potter

Jeff Lawrence jefflawr at gmail.com
Wed Oct 12 23:59:34 EDT 2016


Cyndy Littleton asked:

> When did the word "throw" replace "turned"?
>

Hi Cyndy,
I'm a little dubious about Jim's etymology. Sorry Jim, but I think your
laudable admiration for your family's potter roots makes you over-accepting
of their account of the vocabulary.
"Throw" comes from Anglo-Saxon "thrawen" - to turn or twist  (probably
spelled with a 'thorn', the Norse/Old English letter for 'th' sound). The
word morphed into the potterly sense of 'to throw' and survived as the
obscure word 'thrawn' - "lacking in attractive qualities as in perverse,
recalcitrant or crooked, misshapen."
Hey, I've made pots that fit those descriptions perfectly!
"Turner" comes from a Latin word (tornus) that means "lathe," so I
hypothesize that the English 'turn' for pottery came along with the Norman
invasion and thus is a hoity-toity neologism by comparison.

Jeff Lawrence
jefflawr at gmail.com
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