I quite like the sound of the word skeleton; it’s very “cellar door“-ish to me. It has a fairly quirky word-history. It comes from the Latin sceleton, which in turn comes from the Greek skeleton soma: literally, ‘dried-up body, mummy’. Therefore, being a Greco-Latin word, this project aims to replace it!
Early English forms were more English-sounding: skelton and skelet. These would make excellent bishop-shifted forms. But could we come up with a wholly English form instead?
First, let’s ask: what is the skeleton? It is the bony framework of the body. Therefore, a more Saxon name for it might be “bonework” or “bonywork”. Think network and such.
There are other extended meanings of skeleton, too. How might these be put into Saxon English?
- In the sense of “bare outline”, “skeleton” can be replaced with… bare outline!
- “Skeleton crew” therefore become bare outline crew, bare crew, or outline crew.
- “Skeleton in the closet” becomes “dead body in the cupboard” — closet also being a French word.
© 2018 Bryan A. J. Parry
featured image from http://skeletonpictures.org/large/6/Skeleton-Pictures-6.jpg