When you were fed up with the veneer of Seventh Avenue, and Goldgraben’s Afro-Oriental garishness, you would go to the Congo and turn rioting loose in all the tenacious odors of service and the warm indigenous smells of Harlem, fooping or jig-jagging the night away. You would if you were a black kid hunting for joy in New York.
Jazz music came from New Orleans and New Orleans was inhabited with maybe every race on the face of the globe and, of course, plenty of French people. Many of the earliest tunes in New Orleans was from French origin. I m telling you when they started playing this little thing they would really whoop it up—everybody got hot and threw their hats away. . . .
C’ été ‘n aut’ can-can, payé donc,
C’été ‘n aut’ can-can, payé donc. . . .
Then we had Spanish people there. I heard a lot of Spanish tunes and I tried to play them in correct tempo, but I personally didn’t believe they were really perfected in the tempos. Now take La Paloma, which I transformed in New Orleans style. You leave the left hand just the same. The difference comes in the right hand—in the syncopation, which gives it an entirely different color that really changes the color from red to blue.
Now in one of my earliest tunes, New Orleans Blues, you can notice the Spanish tinge. In fact, if you can’t manage to put tinges of Spanish in your tunes, you will never be able to get the right seasoning, I call it, for jazz.
(Mister Jelly Roll, Alan Lomax)
.Jazz is to jad and jab and jagged as rag time is to rag and ragged.
In the first part of this study we looked at the song Ja-Da and the musical elements that brought about the birth of jazz, even as to the word jazz itself ; this second and final part pursues the etymological exploration to the long forms and outer limits of Victorian philology.
On 26 January of 1855, a paper by the English etymologist Hensleigh Wedgwood, Esq. (son of the younger Josiah Wedgwood the potter and Darwin’s cousin), was read to the Philological Society of London, entitled “On Roots mutually connected by reference to the term Zig-zag”. To peruse it now, whilst pondering all the possible origins of the term “jazz”, can leave the mind reeling.
Those Muse-struck meanderings of Mr. Wedgwood were delivered at the Library in St. James’s Square, London. The lecture would have seemed a world away from the ballrooms by Calliope Street, New Orleans, where they were dancing the Creole quadrilles, cake walks and calindas that were to engender, in part, musical metamorphoses in the jig-jaggedy styles called rag time and jazz. Depending on the disposition of the present reader (who should have a brimming cup at the ready), Wedgwood’s paper on the roots of “zig-zag” will seem either exceedingly etceterative or highly exhilarating. May it fascinate !
The sound of a blow is represented in Spanish by the syllable zis ! or zas ! and the sound of repeated blows by the compound ziszas ! in Portuguese zas-tras ! corresponding to E. thwick-thwack ! The image fundamentally represented by zigzag seems nearly the same as that belonging to the Sp. ziszas, with perhaps a more general tendency to a conception of the blows as being made by a sharp instrument. Then as blows repeated in rapid succession are naturally given alternately from right to left and left to right, the term is applied to motion sharply alternating in directions transverse to each other, to a line such as would be drawn by a succession of strokes inclined to each other at an acute angle.
In support of such a view of the primary image represented by the term zigzag, the directly expressive character of which is universally felt, we cannot indeed in English produce the very element zig or zag, signifying the kind of action in which we suppose the idea of the zigzag form to takes its rise, but the corresponding root zick or zack is extant in German, and a long series of neighbouring forms may be pointed out in all the European languages in which the initial z is exchanged for letters into which the former consonant readily passes. Perhaps the most central form that can be taken is the E. jag, which on the one hand passes (by the omission of the sound of the Fr. j involved in our pronunciation of the same consonant) into dag, tag, tack, stack, and on the other into gag, kag, skag, shag ; and it will be the object of the present paper to investigate the development of meanings originating in the idea of sudden thrust, suddenly checked or rapidly alternating action, represented by the foregoing syllables and their immediate modifications. From these fundamental images the train of thought will very generally be found to pass to the representation of a bodily projection, of a point or pointed object, an unevenness in a superficial or linear body, a tooth, notch, cog ; or, again, the pointed object may itself be considered as the implement of stabbing or thrusting, stopping a hole, supporting, propping. If the substance to which the projection belongs be of a soft nature, the projection will hang down instead of standing up, whence the notion of dangling, swinging ; of a dangling body, bob, cluster. It is not, of course, to be supposed that the complete train of thought by which any particular signification is connected with the original idea will be found in the case of every form of the root, but the evidence is of a cumulative nature, and the principal steps of the process will be found repeated under so many forms, that there can rarely be a difficulty in supplying any step that may be wanting from a sister-form. The connexion of the forms jig, jag, jog with zigzag, may be illustrated by the Polish pronunciation of the theme żygzag, i. e. jygzag (with a French j).
To jag is explained by Jamieson ‘to job’ (that is, to strike with a pointed instrument), ‘to prick, to pierce.’ Hence a jag, a projecting point ; jagged, jaggy, having a slashed zigzag edge, ragged, rough with sharp projections.
Was jagg’d with frost.
Made of strange stuffe, but all to worn and ragged,
And underneath his breech was all to torn and jagged.
To dag is in like manner to stab, to pierce, to slash. A dagger is a stabber, a weapon for stabbing ; Fr. dague, a dagger, the sharp horns of a young stag. Dag, a small projecting stump of a branch, a sharp sudden pain [a stab] (Halliwell). In the diminutive form we have the prov. E. daglet, an icicle, from its tapering shape, corresponding to the Icel. is-digul, frost-dingul, other forms of diminutive from the same root.
To jag or dag was especially applied to the fashion of slashing garments, which formerly afforded so frequent a subject of ridicule or invective to our satirists and moralists.
Thy body bolstred out with bumbast and with bagges,
Thy rowles, thy ruffes, thy caules, thy coifes,
Thy jerkins and thy jagges.
– Gascoigne in Rich.
So under the name of dagging in the Parson’s Tale :- “But there is also the costlewe furring in their gownes, so moche pounsing of chesil to make holes, so moche dagging with sheres forth.”
In this point of view a jag or dag becomes equivalent to a rag or tatter, bringing us to the notion of hanging loose, fluttering in the air, swaying to and fro. Thus from dag is derived to dangle, as the Icel. dingla in the same sense from digul, dingul, an icicle.
The same idea of dangling or hanging loose is exemplified in the dag-locks, also called tag-locks or tag-wool, the matted locks hanging about a sheep’s tail, as well as in W. tagel, a dewlap, the wattles of a cock. The provincial G. zagel (identical with E. tail, as G. segel with E. sail) is in like manner used to signify any wavering or dangling thing, the tail of a dog, top of a tree, lock of hair. The corresponding Pl. D. tagel is applied to the lash of a whip, rope’s end ; the Isl. tagl, to the hanging extremity of anything, as reip-tagl, a rope’s end, fiall-tagl, the skirts of a hill, and especially to the tail of a horse, whence Swed. tagel, with a singular contraction of meaning, becomes simply horsehair, as Goth. tagls, the hair of the head.
From G. haar-zagel, a tuft of hair, we readily pass to Swiss tschogg, a tuft on the head of a bird, a man’s head of hair ; It. ciocca, a tuft of fruit or of flowers ; E. shock, in the expression a shock-head, a bushy head of hair, shock-dog, a dog with shaggy locks. In a shock of corn the same idea seems exhibited in a magnified form, the signification probably being only a bunch of sheaves.
To dig is essentially, like dag, to thrust with a pointed instrument ; to tig, to give a twitch, as in the proverb “Ower mony masters, as the toad said to the harrow when every tooth gave her a tig.” With an initial s this form of the root gives rise to the Lat. instigo, instinguo, to prick on, to instigate, whence instinct, that which urges the animal on. To extinguish is to put the fire out, the original meaning of put being to poke or thrust. To distinguish is to point apart, to mark by separate points or to arrange round separate points.
The syllables jig or jog are used in E. to designate various kinds of roughly or sharply reciprocating action, as in jig, a quick dance, a trick (Halliwell) ; jigging, visiting about ; jiggeting, jigling, jolting, shaking, moving unsteadily. To jog, to give a momentary impulse to, to move unsteadily. Jogs, hits, strikes (Hall.), illustrating the connexion of the Lat. jacere, to cast, throw, and icere, to strike, stab, with our root. Jogging, a protuberance on the surface of sawn wood (Hall.). In Lyell’s ‘North America’ he mentions certain remarkably indented cliffs with corresponding zigzags on either side of an estuary called North and South Joggins, the meaning of which was explained to him, “Why, you see, Sir, they jog in and jog out.”
It is impossible to draw a distinct line between the forms with an initial j and g. The identity of jag and gag is exemplified in Icel. gagr, projecting ; E. gag-tooth, a projecting tooth.
Her jaws grin dreadful with three rows of teeth,
Jaggy they stand the gaping den of death.
– Pope in Richardson.
An exact equivalent of the E. jog appears in W. gogi, to shake ; gogr, a sieve (from the jigging motion) ; ysgogi, to wag, to stir, to shog ; and in the Gael. gog, a nod ; gog-cheannach (cean, a head), tossing the head in walking ; gog-shuil, a goggle eye, a prominent restless eye,— “They goggle with their eyes hither and thither” (Holinshed in Richardson) ; goigean, a cluster ; goigeannach, clustering, dangling ; provincial E. gog, a bog ; gog-mire or juggle-mire, a quag-mire ;— compelling us to regard quag, and consequently quake, as modifications of our root, and thus bringing us into connexion with an endless series of forms derived from a root wag, which we must abstain from touching.
With joggle, or juggle and goggle, in the sense of unsteady motion, must be classed Sc. coggle, to rock ; coggly, moving from side to side, unsteady. Hence must be explained the cogs of a wheel, viz. as jogs or unevennesses on the edge of the wheel.
Three long rollers twice nine inches round,
In iron cased and jagg’d with many a cog.
– Grainger in Richardson.
The expression to cog in the sense of cheating must be understood as signifying a trick or quick turn, a sense in which jig and many other forms of our root are also used.
While cog is in E. applied as above to the projecting tooth of an indented wheel, the corresponding It. cocca designates the notch or re-entering angle. Hence with an initial s we have to scotch, to notch, Bret. skeja.
The notion of a projecting tooth is carried on in Du. kegge, a wedge, from its tapering form, and its diminutive kegel, A.-S. gicel, an icicle. The Du. and G. kegel is also a ninepin, in E. provincially called gaggles and also kayles or skayles, Fr. quilles. In like manner in G. itself kegel is contracted into keil, any longish tapering body, a wedge, as well as kiel, the quill or hollow tapering end of a feather.
The forms jig and gig are still closer to each other than jog and gog. We have gig, a top (an object distinguished by a rapid circular, instead of reciprocating motion) ; gig, gigget, gigsy, giglet, a flighty person, a silly romping girl ; G. geige, Pl. D. gigel, a fiddle, from the rapid sawing action with which the instrument is played. Hence too the Pl. D. gigeln, begigeln, to deceive, to lead by the nose, to beguile, properly, like diddle, to deceive by tricks played off before one’s eyes. The E. wile, formerly wigele (Ancren Rewle), A.-S. wigelung, gewiglung, deceit, juggling, bewitching, and wigelere, a soothsayer, are derived on the same principle from wag, waggle, wiggle, expressive of unsteady motion.
Possibly in Lat. præstigiæ, the syllable stig, which we have already found as one of the forms of our root, may supply the notion of the quick turn or trick required to construct the actual meaning.
In like manner we are led from jog and its frequentatives jogger, joggle, juggle, in the sense of moving to and fro, to juggle, in the sense of playing tricks of sleight of hand, which is in all probability essentially the same word with the foregoing gigeln, begigeln, and with provincial E. guggle, to gull, to cheat (Hall.), although the mid. Lat. joculator, a juggler, may seem to point to a derivation from jocus. But jocus itself, like the Lith. jukas, sport (whence jukininkas, jukdarys, a juggler), may probably be an early offshoot of our stock, having originally signified a rapid trick. The Sc. jouk is applied to a quick turn of the body, a shift or change of place ; to jowk, to play tricks like a juggler ; joukry-pawkry, trick, deception, juggling (Jamieson). The G. gaukeln, to juggle, has little appearance of being derived from joculari, while it is related to schaukeln, to roll as a ship, to seesaw, as gog to shog, which we shall presently recognize as a neighbouring form of jog.
With an initial s from gag (in Icel. gagr, projecting), we have Icel. skaga, to project, corresponding in form to E. shag, shaggy, in some places pronounced scaggy, hanging in uneven locks. So from W. gogi, to shake, ysgogi, to wag, to stir, corresponding to E. shog, to shake roughly, to jog. ‘The sea was schoggid with wawis’ (Wiclif), was jagged or rough with waves. An ice-shoggle or shockle is a shag or hanging shoot of ice, to which is related Du. schongelen, schonkelen, to swing, in the same way as Icel. dingla is to digul, and E. dangle to daglet, an icicle. As an equivalent to Du. schonkelen may be mentioned Fr. chanceler, to totter, a frequentative, of which the positive form is represented by O. Fr. jancer, E. jaunce, jounce, to jog. The Fr. jancer is also to jaunt, to make a pleasure excursion, to take a jog, Sw. fara ut att skaka på sig, Fr. aller se faire cahoter un peu.
From E. shog we easily pass to Du. schocken, to jolt, Fr. choquer, to strike against, to shock ; and from them it is difficult to separate Sw. skaka, to shake, to jolt ; Icel. skakra, to tremble, to stagger.
We have said that both the elements of the G. zick-zack were extant as living roots in that language. We find zacken, to jag, dent, notch, slash, explaining E. tack, to change the direction in sailing to the opposite course, to sail in zigzag ; zacke or zacken, a spike, prong, tooth, branch, &c. ; eis-zacken, an icicle, and in Pl. D. (where an initial t regularly corresponds to G. z) takk, a point, a branch of a tree or of a deer’s horn ; is-täkel, an icicle. It. tacca, a notch, corresponds to G. zacken, a tooth, just as It. cocca, a notch, to cog, the projecting tooth of a wheel. Bav. zicken, Pl. D. ticken, to strike with a quick short blow (Schmeller), to tick ; G. zucken, to shrug, to draw with a sudden action, to tug ; den degen zucken, to whip out one’s sword ; den kopf zucken, to duck the head, to jouk (Scotch), to shrink from a blow.
Sp. taco, an implement for thrusting, the ramrod or wad of a gun, a peg, wedge, bung, a billiard-cue ; tocon, a stump, stock of a tree ; It. tocco, a bit, a morsel (properly an end, then a small piece). Sp. tocar, in which the meaning is softened down into the idea of touching, but the original sense of striking is preserved in the expression ‘ tocar el tambor,’ to beat the drum ; tocante, catching (of a disorder).
The same softening down of the meaning seems to have taken place in Lat. tangere, originally tagere, explained “to touch, i. e. to strike, hit, beat,” in the third sense given by Andrews in his Dictionary.
Swed. tagg, a prickle, sharp point, sting ; taggar, the teeth of a saw, of a comb, &c., like G. zacken. E. tag, the point at the end of a lace, the jagged end of anything ; hence frequently joined with rag, to signify the rabble or unhonoured appendages of a party. “Of the other two, one is reserved for comely personages and void of loathsome discourse ; the other is left common for tag and rag.” —Holinshed in R.
The insertion of the nasal into tag, in the sense either of a hanging rag or a projecting point, gives in the one case Isl. tangr, a rag, and in the other tangi, a tongue of land projecting into the sea, a promontory ; Sc. tangle, an icicle ; Isl. tangi is also the tang of a knife or prolongation of the blade running up into the handle ; and as the tang is held fast in the surrounding handle, an instrument consisting of two arms for the purpose of seizing an object to be held as a tang or tongue between them is, by a converse application of the term, called tangs or tongs, Icel. taungr. In the same way, to stick signifies to pierce or project into a solid substance, and to be held fast in the substance into which the implement is stuck ; to cleave is both to cut into and to adhere to, the complete image being that of the instrument driven in between the portions of the cloven object.
Again, we have Gael, tac, tacaid, a peg, a nail, a prop, a sharp pain; E. tack, a small nail ; to tack, to fasten as with pricks or stitches, “I tack a thing, I make it fast to a wall or such like” (Palsgrave in Way). Bret. tach (with a Fr. ch), a tack, tacha, to fasten with nails. Venet. tacare, Piedm. taché, It. attaccare, to hang a thing up, to stick, to fasten, to tie.
The way in which these Italian forms are used would seem to explain the Icel. taka, Swed. taga, E. take, as originating in the idea of fastening on, laying hold of ; thus taché is explained to hang up, to stick to, to fasten on, to seize ; ‘taché la rogna ad un,’ to give one the itch ; ‘taché la rogna da un autr,’ to take it from another. In the same way, to take was formerly used as well in the sense of delivering a thing to another as receiving it from him. Taché, of plants, to take root ; taché l’ feu, to take fire ; tachessé, to quarrel, dispute, scold ; It. attaccarsi di parole ; just as the corresponding reciprocal tagas of Swed. taga signifies to struggle, contend, quarrel.
The prefix of an s to forms like dag, tag, tak, with the fundamental signification of a suddenly checked thrust, gives prov. Dan. stagge, stagle, to stagger, to stumble to the right and left in the endeavour to move onwards ; Gael. stac, a false step, stacach, hobbling, limping; Swed. steg, a step ; Du. staggelen, to paw the ground as a horse ; Swiss staggelen, stanggeln, stigeln, to stutter, to speak in sudden impulses, with reference to which may be compared the Du. tateren, to stutter, with E. totter, and stutter, again, with Du. stooten, to thrust. Conversely, to stammer is used in the north of England in the sense of staggering.
Other forms are,— Icel. stanga, to thrust, to prick ; stinga, to prick, to stick, to sting, to touch ; G. stechen, to stab, to prick, to sting ; Bret. steki, stoki, to strike, to knock ; Prov. E. to stock, to peck, as a bird ; G. stauchen, to jog, to jolt, to ram, to stow goods in a cask or in a ship ; E. stoke, to poke, to stoach, to stab, to poach wet ground.
We have then in most of the European languages a variety of forms, stac, stick, stock, stang, signifying an instrument of thrusting, a bar, a pole, a bolt, a pillar, a support, or anything rising to a point. Gael. stac, a stake, pillar, thorn, peaked rock, stack of hay, wood, or the like ; Pol. stog, a stack ; Du. staeck, a stake, stick, peg ; Lith. stokas, a stake ; Sp. estoc, a pointed sword ; Gael. stoc, a trunk, post, pillar ; Du. stok, a stick or stock ; Fr. estoc, the stock of a tree, used metaphorically, like E. stock, for the stem or living root of a family on which the successive descendants appear as branches. The same metaphor represents the public funds as stocks, or stems developing their fruit and branches in the shape of annual dividends. A stock of goods is a similar metaphor, in which the things required for use are considered as the fruit or branches detached from a permanent stem.
With a nasal, we have It. stanga, G. stange, E. stang, a pole, bar, bolt ; and in Gael. also a pin, a peg. Without the initial s, Langued. tanca, a bolt, tanc, the stump of a tree, or the act of stumbling against it ; Finn, tanko, a pole.
Then, as driving a stake into the ground affords one of the simplest and most obvious types of fixedness, we have next a series of verbal forms signifying to fix or become fixed, to stop, cease from action, to fasten, to tie, to choke.
We speak in English of sticking a pin into a cushion, sticking a thing to the wall, sticking in the middle of a sticking in the mud, sticking in one’s throat. Du. staaken, to stop, to cease ; Langued. estaca, to stick or stop ; estaca, Bret. staga, a leash or tie ; Sw. stocka sig, to stop, to clod, to coagulate ; G. stocken, to stand still, to stop short, to cease to flow ; Prov. E. stogged, set fast in the mire ; to stodge or staw, to cram full, to bring to a stand in eating ; Prov. Fr. estoqué, fixed in wonder, also stodged or gorged with eating (Hécart) ; G. stauchen, to cram, to stop the course of water.
The G. ersticken, to suffocate, may be illustrated by W. tagu, to clog, to choke, tag-aradyr (literally clog plough), the plant rest-harrow ; ystagu, to choke, to suffocate ; Bret. stag, a tie ; staga, to tie, to fasten ; staguz, sticky. Langued. tanca, to stop ; ‘ le gousié se tanco,’ the throat stops up, chokes.
The Lat. stagnum, standing water, seems formed on an analogous plan to Prov. E. stockened, stopped in growth, brought to a stand. The derivative stagnare must be considered as collaterally related, and not as the direct ancestor of Fr. étancher, E. to staunch, to stop the flow of liquid, which comes directly from the notion of fixedness, firmness. Thus we have W. ystanc, a holdfast, bracket, stanchion ; Fr. étançon, formerly in the same sense, also as the trunk of a tree, prop, support, trestle ; Bret. stank, thick, close (as standing corn, trees in a wood, &c.), tight, stanka, to staunch, to stop ; E. staunch, firm, fixed ; Sp. estanco, tight, sound, estancar, to stop.
Parallel with the whole of the preceding series will be found one with the same or very similar meanings, and differing in form only in having a labial instead of a guttural termination.
Corresponding to the forms jig, jag, jog, we have to jib, to start suddenly back or on one side, whence the jib in a ship is the triangular sail in front that traverses from side to side. A jibby, giblot, a frisky gadding wench (Halliwell), equivalent to gig, giglet, &c. To jiffle, giffle (with the g hard), to be restless ; a jiffy, an instant, the time of a single vibration. To job, like jag, to strike or thrust with a pointed instrument ; the nutjobber is a provincial name for the nuthatch, a bird which opens nuts with its beak. Pol. dziobac, to peck ; dziob, a beak, bill, pock-mark ; dzioba, an adze. The Gael. gob, the bill or beak of a bird, is manifestly the same word ; also applied ludicrously to the human mouth, whence gobair, a talker, and hence probably the O. F. gaber, to lie, to jest, and E. gab, jibe, jape. O. E. gobbet, jobbet, a lump, small quantity of anything. Bohem. zob, a beak, zub, a tooth, as of the mouth, a saw, comb, &c. A jub is a jog trot; to jump, to start suddenly forwards ; to jumble, to shake up things together.
With an initial d we have dab, a slight blow, a small lump ; dabbet, like jobbet, a small quantity (Halliwell) ; to dibble, to make holes in the ground with a pointed instrument ; a dib, dimble, a narrow valley, a dimple, a pit in the cheek, like Pol. dziob, from dziobac.
We find tap very generally running parallel with tack, with a fundamental signification, as it appears, of ramming, thrusting, striking with a pointed instrument, as in the words of the song, “The woodpecker tapping the hollow beech tree.” Bohemian top, the beak of a bird, topor, an axe, tepati, to strike ; E. nut-topper, another name for the nutjobber or nuthatch. Portuguese topar, to hit, to stumble, trip, strike a thing by chance with the feet ; It. intoppo, an obstacle ; Fr. achoper, to stumble, to strike against, answering to choquer of the former series. Dan. tappe, to throb, to struggle, to pant ; Sp. Port, tapar, to stop a hole, viz. to ram a peg into it ; Port. tapado, tight in texture, Lat. stipatus, as Bret. stank above mentioned. G. zapfen, a tap, bung, peg for stopping the hole in a cask, or anything of similar shape ; eis-zapfen, Dan. iis-tap, an icicle, answering to eis-zacken, is-täkel of the former series ; W. tap, tapyn, a projection, ledge or shelf ; top, topyn, a stopple, top, bush of hair ; G. zopf, schopf, It. ciuffo, Fr. touffe, toupe, E. tuft, answering to tschogg, ciocco, shock, of the former series. E. tap-root, a spindle-shaped root ; to taper, to assume such a form, to diminish in size towards the end ; a taper (originally no doubt a dip-candle), so named from the tapering form. Dan. top-sukker, a sugar-loaf.
With an initial s we start again from the notion of a thrust with a sharp implement in E. stab, leading to G. stab, a stave or staff ; Gael, stob, a thrust or stab, stump, thorn, prickle, pointed stick. E. stub, stump, a projecting point, the cut-off end of anything ; stubble, the sharp ends of corn left standing ; stubborn, rugged in disposition, standing up like a stub, not easily bent. Icel. stabbi, like stack, a heap or pile ; Lat. stipare, to ram or cram, stipes, a stake, stipula, a straw. Bohem. staupati, to tread, to march ; staupa, a stamp, stupa, a step, stupka, a mortar, stopa, footsteps, traces ; stopka, the stalk of a leaf, fruit.
N. of France, estope, a stake, also stable, firm, solid, corresponding to Bret. stank, E. stanch. In the same dialect we find both estoper and estocquier, to stop, to close, viz. by thrusting a peg or object of appropriate shape into the hole ; to stop or come to a stand is the equivalent of the G. stocken, Du. staaken, above mentioned. E. staple, like stanchion, a hook fixed into something to hold by ; Du. stapel, like Gael. Icel. E. stack, a heap piled up, a dépôt of merchandise ; Swed. klock-stapel, a steeple, the pointed tower of a church. As the final b of stab passes into an f in staff, to stuff or cram must be considered only as another form of stop, and stuff, matter, substance, is the staff, stem, or stock, out of which an object is produced. Household stuff is the stock of furniture, &c. by which it is made habitable. The metaphor would be but slightly altered by calling bread the stuff, instead of the staff, of life.
Du. stippen, to prick, and like sticken, to embroider, stipsel, sticksel, embroidery, stip-tuyn, a stake-fence, paling ; stappen, stippen, E. to step, the equivalent of Gael, stac, Swed. steg ; E. stamp, to strike with the foot, with a pestle or the like ; Swed. stampa, also to rock, to move from side to side like a ship ; Bret. stampa, to stride.
Prov. Fr. s’etamper, to stand up ; etampo, an upright ; Fr. estamper, to support, to prop, like estancer, etancher ; estampeau, estançon, a prop, stay, trestle (Cotgr.).
From stamp must be explained the O. E. stamber, stammer, Sw. stamma, titubare lingua ; and stammer or stummer, to stagger, stumble (Brocket), just as we saw the two ideas conveyed by the Swiss and Dutch staggelen, staggeren ; slavering or staveling, wandering about in an unsteady manner, as in the dark, stumbling (Halliwell).
The Lith. stambas, stambras, a stalk, indicates the loss of a final p in G. stam, E. stem, which are thus brought back to a root stap or stip, agreeing with Lat. stipes, stipula. A similar modification would produce Lat. stimulus, a prick or goad, from the same radical form. From stam or stem we have G. stämmen, to prop, to support, to stop the course of water, to dam ; Swed. stämma, to staunch ; Dan. stamme, the stock, stem, or trunk of a tree, the stock or pack of cards.
Lat. stupere may be explained like Prov. Fr. estoqué, brought to a stand, fixed in wonder, ‘être étonné jusqu’à en perdre la respiration’ (Hécart), to stand like a stock or stub. Gr. στυπη, tow, what is stuffed or rammed in, also a stock or trunk, as Lat. stipes ; στυπτικός, styptic, having a tendency to staunch or stop the flow of blood.
It is observable that the same series of meanings as above developed appears in the Sanscrit stabh, stambh, stumbh, fulcire, immobilem reddere, sistere, stupere; stambha, postis, pila, columna, mons, manipulus, stupor (Dieffenbach).