Word Nerd: Pouring it on

Columns Evergreen Geek Culture Word Nerd

inigoHello, and welcome to another exciting installment of Word Nerd, where we attempt to untangle the convoluted vocabulary of the English language.

Today we have another threefer, though only two of them get routinely abused.

Pouring over a book...
Pouring over a book…

Pour: to cause a flow or stream, from a container, or pretty much any kind of stream or flow; heavy rain, for example.

Pore: a tiny opening, or to study very closely as if looking for tiny openings.

Poor: having little money, or just generally being deficient in something necessary.

Pour comes from an old English word, pouren, but nobody is really sure what it meant or where it came from. Interestingly, pore (meaning to study intently) comes from the same word, while pore (a small opening) comes from the Greek word poros, meaning passage. Poor comes by way of France, from the Old French word povre, meaning pauper, which is the Latin word for “gots no cash, Jack.”

If you pored the milk, you scrutinized it.
If your family is pour, they’re liquid.
If you’re worried about your poors, you care about the less fortunate.

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