Yesterday in the car, I looked out at the bright blue sky and had a Mr. Roger’s moment–I started singing “It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” and my daughter asked, “Why’s is called a neighborhood? Does it have anything to do with the hood of a coat?”

I’d never paused to ponder this -hood suffix, but naturally her question made me curious, so I came home and looked it up. =)

Prior to the 14th century, instead of hood we had hade, which was a free-standing word that meant “person, individual, character, individuality; condition, state, nature; sex, race, family, tribe.” Wow, right? Quite a list. Round about the 1300s hade made the change to hood and narrowed in meaning to “condition, position,” though its literal meaning has ties to brightness and quality.

So, in fact, it has absolutely nothing to do with the now-freestanding hood of a coat, which is from an entirely different root word that means, simply, “covering.” Which is a shame, because Xoe and I had come up with a nice little reason for the word to be used in such totally different ways. 😉

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