Those of you who aren’t huge nerds like me might not think this is all that cool, but hopefully at least some of you will find this at least a little interesting.
This all started when Wedding Republic’s CEO, Hana, and I were discussing possible blog post ideas. Hana suggested looking into where the term “groom” comes from and — as I stated above — I’m a huge nerd for things like this, so I jumped at the idea.
Living, as we do, in a world with easy access to the information super highway, the actual research was pretty boring. What I turned up, however, is pretty interesting — and maybe just a little bit sexist.
As it turns out, groom is actually just short for bridegroom. Bridegroom, in turn, is a combination of the words bride and groom (shocker, I know).
Here’s where it gets interesting: the word groom has the same root as the verb groom. To groom, of course, means to care for the appearance of, or to prepare for a position or purpose — for example, the CEO of a company might groom a successor to take over for him or her.
Both words come from the old English term “guma,” which refers to a young servant boy, often used specifically to mean a male servant who looks after horses (hence the current meaning). Really, the thing to take away from this, in my opinion is that even the early Anglo-Saxons must have known that a married man becomes his wife’s servant. Right?
To be fair, though, if you think that’s sexist, then let me tell you about the origins of the word bride.
Like groom, bride has Old English origins. It derives from the word “bryd” which also refers to a woman to be married. It’s not totally clear where bryd comes from, but there are two theories.
One is that it comes from the word “brud,” which meant to borrow — this makes sense since tradition held that a bride would go to live with her new husband’s family.
The other theory, however, is that it comes from the verb “bru,” which meant to to cook or make broth. You can interpret that one however you’d like.