This is the full read-only archive of the "Ask the Wordwizard" section of the original Wordwizard site. The responses to the questions originate from Jonathon Green, the compiler of the Cassell Dictionary of Slang and numerous other dictionaries.
WHAT IS THE ROOT MEANING? AND IS THERE ANY CONNECTION TO THE OLD ROMAN WIRTER OR NOT?
Submitted by MICHELLE MACK (DEARBORN - U.S.A.)
Signature: Topic imported and archived
It comes from the Latin 'porphyrites', a purple-coloured precious stone in Egypt; this in turn comes from Greek 'porphyrites', like purple. There seems to be no direct link to the writer.
Signature: Jonathon Green