Is Rude A Rood?

An etymological look at the words, rude and rood.

Language has always been a point of conflict as people tend to assume meanings for words that may or may not be the intent of the speaker.  Let us take the word rood, for example.  The word "rood" is an Old English word that meant the area in length of a given place that was being measured.  Since there are many areas that could be measured in length, the exact length or the rood of the object depends on the object being measured.  Some etymologists conjecture, since language meanings are always a point of conjecture based on some scholar's comparison to a supposedly known meaning of another word or comparison, that a rood was a rod, meaning a wooden stick.  A possible comparison would be the rods held by shepherds as they herd their sheep.  These rods have had other romantic comparisons to a wizard's wand.  Using, a rod or a rood, a person doing measurement of a place could come to some commonly agreed upon assumption of the length of something or other.

Now, a rood, mysteriously became the commonly understood meaning of the true cross of Christ.  By inference, Jesus Christ was crucified on a wooden rod and, therefore, a rood was assumed to be the definition of the true cross of Jesus Christ and the word "rod" was added to the language to continue to be used as a measurement of length. When was the inference added that the rood of Jesus Christ was actually two roods tied at the center or the top?  The interpretation of the actual configuration of Jesus Christ's rood has gone through considerable evolution.  From the Byzantine to the Greek Orthodox and later depictions in art and costume jewelry to the Russian, the rood has been portrayed in various configurations of the rod on which Jesus Christ was crucified. 

Let us now consider another point of language that often causes grief and dissension, words that sound alike but really don't mean the same concept.  Rude is a description of someone who is not behaving according to the desires and expectations of another person.  A person who behaves discourteously may be called rude.  He most certainly isn't the rood.  Or is he?  If a person has been unjustly maligned, he may be said to be the rood of Jesus Christ.  By implication, he has been crucified which similarly means rooded.  Now, wait a second.  Is there a past tense for rood.  Of course, some may say that I am behaving rudely when all I want to do is tell you something about rood.


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