Sometimes it’s so interesting to look at the history of the words that are so very common to our language! God is certainly one of those.
I’d heard at some point over the years that god and good are related . . . and I imagine most of you have heard the same. But apparently this is most definitely not the case–and largely because the word for god existed in Old English before Christianity arrived, and lemme just tell you, pagan gods are not good, generally speaking. So the words had no reason to be associated in their creation.
In fact, god has two possible sources. It could have come from the root Indo-European ghut, which means “that which is invoked.” Or perhaps it’s from ghu-to, “poured.” As in, the being to whom one would pour out libations.
Our English word is most likely derived most directly from the Nordic or German words of similar sound, and it’s interesting to note that in German, it was originally a neuter noun. But with the coming of Christianity, it became a masculine noun. (Goddess apparently dates from the 14th century.)
Good, quickly, is from Indo-European ghedh, “suitable.”
So there we have it. Though god and good do sound and look similar and have been tied together through Christian tradition, they, in fact, come from different words . . . and in the time when they both entered the language, they didn’t yet have any reason to be connected! 😉
Print Friendly, PDF & Email