pound

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.
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pound

Post by Archived Topic » Mon Feb 15, 1999 12:00 am

What is the origin of the word "Pound", as in Dog Pound?
Submitted by Gregory Clark (Seymour, TN - U.S.A.)
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pound

Post by Jonathon Green » Thu Feb 18, 1999 8:00 am

Pound is something of a problem. It is not found till near the end of the Middle English period, i.e. c. 1450. A possible root, Anglo-Saxon 'pund', is known only in comb. 'pund-fold' and an early ME. 'pundbreche' or 'pound-breach' (found in the laws of Henry I). It is supported by the derivatives '(the-)pyndan' to dam up (water) and 'forpyndan' to exclude, to bar. The ultimate origin is unknown; the stem has not been certainly traced in any continental language.
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