A couple of weeks ago a friend asked me if I knew where the word "godspeed" comes from. I didn't. So, of course, I wanted to find out. Here's what I learned.
You might know that wishing someone godspeed (or God speed) is a way of wishing him or her well. It's a pleasant parting wish that in the 14th century meant, "I wish that God may grant you success." In order to understand the origin of the word in its current spellings and meaning, we have to look at the parts separately. It won't be arduous (or particularly thorough), I promise.
First "G/god": In the 14th century and thereabouts, when spellings of many words varied, the words "God" and "good" were sometimes spelled the same and sometimes differently.
Now "speed," which surprised me a little: Turns out that our modern word "speed" comes from various old European languages, including the Old English word "sped," which meant prosperity, success, luck, wealth. So to wish someone "goodspeed" or "godspeed" or "Godspeed" all meant that you hoped that they would do well.
So there you go. I wish you godspeed as you go about your day today.
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