We have one more week left of summer vacation. One more little week, then back to the homeschool grind we go. Needless to say, that has inspired a few sighs and a whimper or two (okay, perhaps that was more from me than the kids, LOL).

With the end of days of freedom and fun (or in my case, work-work-work), a little crankiness is to be expected. And so, today I thought I’d look at the history of the word. =)

Cranky has its roots, obviously, in crank–a word which is as old as English itself, taken from the Proto-Germanic krank: a handle for turning a revolving axis. We obviously still use this meaning of the word as well, though both German and Dutch have apparently leaned away from the literal ancient meaning and instead gone toward a figurative “sick, weakly” meaning.

This is where our cranky comes in. Around 1803, cranky appeared in English texts, meaning “sickly or ailing.” By 1825, crank itself was listed in dictionaries as having a secondary meaning of “hard, difficult.” (Like  a crank job.) Crank meaning “an irritable person” came along in 1833–a back-formation from cranky.

Though to give my kids credit where it’s due, they’re less cranky about school starting than I thought they’d be–in part at the promise of going to Staples and stocking up on pens and paper. (They are so my children, LOL. Fresh writing supplies make everything better.)

Happy Monday, everyone!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email