In English, there’s no shortage the oddities and also weirdness. One of the biggest sticking points for both second language learners and native English speakers alike is spelling. English is a language of obtained words. Over 75% of every English words are loanwords! (If you’re interested in learning more about this, examine out my article on just how much that the English language is in reality English)

When English borrows a new word from an additional language, it likes to save the spelling the same. This leads to native that are pronounced differently than they’re spelt and an in its entirety mess because that everyone as soon as it concerns spelling.

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“Refrigerator” was obtained into English native Latin and also keeps the Latin spelling when “fridge” is a word obtained from frozen refrigerator by English speakers. At first it was spelt “frig”, yet as time went on it linked with continual spelling rule to end up being “fridge”; comparable to words like “bridge” or “ledge”.

The trip from Latin

The indigenous “refrigerate” involves us from Latin where the word is refrigerare. This is spelt in virtually exactly the same method as the English refrigerator and also refrigerate except the Latin verb ending -re is remove and also English word end -ate and also -tor are added to the words.

Ultimately, refrigerare in Latin is derived through the Latin adjective frigus, which method cold, this is likewise where we acquire the word frigid from in English.

These words, refrigerate and refrigerator, have remained in English because at least the 1600s. However, they were mostly relegated to a scientific intake as most Latin derived words are. This all readjusted when the appliance us now speak to a refrigerator was invented.

The concept of fabricated refrigeration was emerged in 1748 through a Scottish chemist called William Cullen. Practically a century later in approximately the mid-1800s, the first examples of at an early stage refrigerators to be being built. It was around this time that the word “refrigerator” started to be offered in a much broader context amongst many an ext speakers of English.

Click right here for a bigger version that this graph.

The graph above shows the occurrences of the words “refrigerator” and “fridge” in print between the years 1800 and 2019 courtesy that Google’s ngrams viewer.

We have the right to see that roughly the year 1830 words “refrigerator” starts to show up in publish much an ext often 보다 in year previously. In 1860, the word begins to pick up vapor and get its peak intake in 1943.

Conversely if friend look really closely, you have the right to see a tiny uptick in the word “fridge” appearing in publish in 1920, however the word really starts come see wide adoption in the 1960s.

Keep in mind the the graph above is just a fairly narrow an option of language use. That only describes the language in books digitized through Google and has no information around English as it was talked in those time periods.

We deserve to imagine that the shortened native “frig” and the modern “fridge” were used much more often once speaking 보다 they were when writing until only relatively recently.

Let’s Shorten the a Little

If there’s one point you have the right to count on once it involves language, it’s that people are lazy. Words will be clipped and shortened whenever possible to simplify the exchange of information. Words “refrigerator” is no different.

While the refrigerator was still new, the entire word was usually offered to refer to the appliance that keeps our food cold. However, as at an early stage as 1920 we begin to check out the clipped indigenous “frig” being offered to describe the refrigerator.

As we witnessed above, together fridges became much more prevalent in people’s homes (around 1960) words fridge began to watch widespread use among an increasing number of people.

So why the “D”?

So if we get the indigenous “fridge” from the word “refrigerator”, whereby does the D come from?

As we witnessed above, once people very first started to clip refrigerator into a smaller sized word they provided the word “frig”. This renders sense because, together we know, over there is no D in refrigerator.

However, this spelling of the word leads to part confusion due to the fact that English together rules would certainly lead united state to think that this new word would certainly be pronounced with a hard G sound (/g/) in ~ the end of it (/frɪg/).

In fact, over there is already a verb to frig in English through multiple meanings such together “to rub” or an ext vulgar meanings similar to the English swear native “fuck” and also as intended this word is pronounced through a tough G sound comparable to other words ending in G: pig, plug, rug, beg, etc.

Unlike the verb to frig, the clipped form of refrigerator was pronounced with a /dʒ/ sound instead. It’s likely that as the popularity of refrigerators together appliances grew and also the word began to be provided in print an ext often, English speakers chose to bring the spelling of the word in line with other words v the /dʒ/ sound.

This meant including a D to the word to regularize it and make it comparable to other words v /dʒ/: bridge, ledge, dodge, etc.


Ultimately, this left us with the word we every know and love now “fridge”.

It’s a really common occurrence in English for words the are borrowed from other languages to retain their spellings even if this method that they could break the pronunciation rule of English.

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However, the word “fridge” to be an totally English coinage. It was created by English speakers and so English speaker molded it to fit come the pronunciation requirements we suppose to see.

That was one more article from mine Hidden history of English series. If you favored it, friend will most likely enjoy my other articles in the series. Friend can examine them out here. Ns hope girlfriend learned something brand-new and interesting around the English language today. I’ll record you in the following article!