How Smaller Words Came to Be Embedded Inside of Larger Words in the English Language

Words Hidden in Words

In a covert episode of their incredibly informative whiteboard series for Mental Floss, linguist Arika Okrent and illustrator Sean O’Neill verbally and visually provide examples of smaller English words embedded inside of larger English words and how those placements came to be.

Some words have smaller words inside them but they’ll tell you something about their etymology. Is there really a void in avoid. Yes it originally meant to clear out or make empty to take what was there and make it a void. It then also took on the sense of you keeping clear of the thing you would rather not be there.