Dandelions and Medallions

By Maeve Maddox

Reader Richard Walker wonders if the -lion endings in words like dandelion and medallion have anything to do with lions.

Yes, where dandelion is concerned; no, for medallion.

The English word dandelion comes from French dent-de-lion, “lion’s tooth.” This name derives from the toothed leaves of the plant. Modern French speakers call the dandelion pissenlit, “pee in the bed.” Middle English speakers called it the piss-a-bed. Herbalists know that the dandelion has diuretic qualities.

Medallion, on the other hand, comes from Italian medaglione, “large medal.” The word medal comes ultimately from Latin metallum, “metal.”

Click here to get access to 800+ interactive grammar exercises!


Share


Leave a comment: