hist-brewing: mugwort etymology

Kirsty Pollock kirsty.pollock at mpuk.com
Wed Dec 22 07:37:59 PST 1999

Jeff Renner wrote:
> Someone recently posted here that the name mugwort indicated 
> its obvious
> use in mugs of ale.  I'm afraid that's folk etymolgy.  The 
> "mug" derives
> from a word for a fly or midge, not a drinking vessel.
>  From the wopnderful Gernot Katzer's Spice Pages
> http://www-ang.kfunigraz.ac.at/~katzer/engl/index.html :
> The genus is named in honour of the Greek goddess of hunting, 
> Artemis, to
> whom some members of the genus were sacred.
> English "mugwort" contains an element mu- meaning "fly, bug"; 
> cf. Greek
> myía, Russian moska and German Mücke "mosquito". The 
> Indo-European stem,
> MU-, is obviously onomatopoetic in origin.
>  From OED:
> [repr. WGer. *muggiwurti, f. *muggjo- fly, midge + *wurti- 
> plant, wort; the
> i of the first element seems to have disappeared before the period of
> umlaut. ]
> And just in case you're wondering if mug (cup) comes from a 
> similar root
> and mugwort really did get its name from being used in mugs 
> via some kind
> of convergent etymoloty:
> [Of unknown origin: cogn. w. LG. mokke, mukke mug, Norw. 
> mugga, mugge `an
> open can or jug, esp. for warm drinks' (Aasen), Sw. mugg mug, 
> Norm. dial.
> moque cup, Guernsey mogue. ]
> Jeff

great stuff, but I was assuming the connection was the 'wort' part (if there
is indeed any).

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