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Re: hex signs

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From: Mark Alexander (malexander06_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Tue Feb 05 2002 - 13:29:30 PST


Hex Signs are from the area settled by the Pennsylvania Dutch to ward off
curses. The following is from http://www.dictionary.com :

hex1 (hks)
n.
An evil spell; a curse.
One that brings bad luck.

tr.v. hexed, hex·ing, hex·es
To put a hex on.
To bring or wish bad luck to: "Chilly evening weather and a chain of minor
snafus seemed to hex the $5,000-a-seat gala on Governors Island" (Newsweek).

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[Pennsylvania Dutch, from German hexen, to hex, from Hexe, witch, from
Middle High German hecse, from Old High German hagzissa.]
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hexer n.
Word History: The word hex is a good example of the sort of borrowing from
other languages that occurred in the English-speaking former colonies of
Great Britain. German and Swiss immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania in
the late 17th and 18th centuries spoke a dialect of German known as
Pennsylvania Dutch. In this dialect hexe was the equivalent of the German
verb hexen, "to practice sorcery." The English verb hex, first recorded in
the sense "to practice witchcraft" in an 1830 work called Annals of
Philadelphia, is borrowed from Pennsylvania Dutch, as is the noun.
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