Is it Redundant to Say ‘Crochet Hook’?
My friend Marie Anne St. Jean, of The Crooked Yarn, is very talented with a crochet hook. She’s also an American of French Canadian descent, and she loves words as much as I do. In her mental meanderings she had learned the word “crochet” in English is a borrowed French word that literally means “hook.” Being the intelligent lady she is, of course she realized the expression “crochet hook” is redundant. She wondered aloud what French speakers call the tool.
Yes, my friend, in French you would simply say “un crochet.”
Origins of the Word ‘Crochet’
According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word crochet came into the English language in 1840 from French. The French word, in turn, came from the Old Norse “krokr,” also meaning a hook. The verb “to crochet” followed in 1858, in case you were wondering.
Another interesting fact is that several Old Norse words beginning with “kr-” mean “bent” or “hooked.” The word “crook” in English refers both to the shepherd’s staff or a similar hooked tool, and also to a criminal or dishonest person. This latter usage goes back to 19th century America, but “crook” as a dishonest trick was used going all the way back to Middle English (12th to 15th centuries.)
While my friend Marie Anne uses her crochet hook for honest work and good Christian charity, there are some fun twists in the language that might be equal to the twists she weaves into her yarn with that same hook!
This text was originally published by me in July 2013 on Bubblews