Where did the word blather come from?

Answered by James Kissner

The word “blather” has its origins in Middle English, specifically from the words “bletheren” and “bloderen.” These Middle English terms can be traced back to the Old Norse word “blaðra,” which means “to speak inarticulately” or “talk nonsense.”

Interestingly, the word “blather” perfectly captures the idea of speaking in a confusing or unintelligible manner. It conveys the sense of rambling on without making much sense or having a clear point. When someone is described as “blathering,” it suggests that they are talking endlessly and aimlessly, with little regard for coherence or relevance.

The etymology of “blather” highlights the influence of Old Norse on the English language. Old Norse was spoken by the Vikings during the Viking Age (approximately 793 to 1066 AD). The Norse language had a significant impact on English, especially in regions where Scandinavian settlers and conquerors interacted with the local population.

As language evolves over time, words can change in meaning and usage. In the case of “blather,” it has retained its connotation of nonsensical speech throughout its history. The word serves as a reminder of the linguistic connections between different cultures and the way language can evolve and adapt.

While discussing the origins of “blather,” it is worth noting that the word’s usage today extends beyond speech. People may also use “blather” to describe writing or other forms of communication that are long-winded, convoluted, or lacking in substance.

To summarize, the word “blather” derives from Middle English and ultimately traces back to the Old Norse word “blaðra.” Its meaning centers around speaking inarticulately or talking nonsense. This term showcases the linguistic influence of Old Norse on the English language and serves as a reminder of how language evolves over time.