UCSB Science Line
Sponge Spicules Nerve Cells Galaxy Abalone Shell Nickel Succinate X-ray Lens Lupine
UCSB Science Line
How it Works
Ask a Question
Search Topics
Our Scientists
Science Links
Contact Information
A student had the question about where the word neap comes from? The dictionary did not make a clear origin for the word.
Question Date: 1999-03-16
Answer 1:

If you are interested in word origins, the Oxford English Dictionary is truly the best way to go. The Oxford English Dictionary, or O.E.D. for short, is over 30 volumes in it's unedited form, in part because the original authors painstakingly researched the root of every word entry, when possible. The unedited form of the O.E.D. quotes the first sentence to ever use each word entry in writing (if written records go back that far) and the author of the sentence. I have the Concise Oxford Dictionary here in my office, which is only one volume but includes some information on word origins. Under "neap", on page 909, the origin is said to be the Old English word "nepflod", which is very similar to the Old English word "flod", which meant flood. The exact origin of "nepflod" itself is unknown, but the word "flod" is Germanic. Many of the oldest words in the English language are Germanic, which means they are derived from the language of the Germans who lived in the 5th century--the language of the Anglo-Saxons--which is very different from German language as it is spoken today. (Similarly, we would have a hard time understanding and reading Old English as it was spoken and written back in the 10th-16th centuries.) I suggest you go to the public library and look up the work "neap" in the full version of the Oxford English Dictionary (if they have it) and see if there is more information. It could be that the word is so old that there is no written record of its origin. This is true for many Old English words. When do you think the first book was printed?

Answer 2:

The work "neap" for tides is used in oceanography to identify the lowest range of the tide, occurring near the times of the first and last (3rd) quarter of the moon.This is in contrast to spring tides that occur near the times of full and new moons. The neap tides are have a lower tidal range than the spring tides.

If you can check out this URL for info

Click Here to return to the search form.

University of California, Santa Barbara Materials Research Laboratory National Science Foundation
This program is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and UCSB School-University Partnerships
Copyright © 2020 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.
UCSB Terms of Use