Thames

Thames (tĕmz)
1) A river of southern England flowing about 340 km (210 mi) eastward to a wide estuary on the North Sea. Navigable for large ships as far as London, it is the principal commercial waterway of the country. In its upper course above Oxford it is often called Isis. 2) A river, about 260 km (160 mi) long, of southeast Ontario, Canada, flowing southwest to Lake St. Clair. In the War of 1812 Gen. William Henry Harrison defeated British and Native American forces in the Battle of the Thames (October 5, 1813).
Word History: The Roman name for the River Thames was Tamēsa or Tamēsis, and this name doubtless has its origins in the Celtic languages originally spoken in Great Britain, languages that were later widely replaced by Old English after the arrival of the Anglo-Saxons. The first mention of the Thames in the surviving literature of Old English occurs in a work from around 893, an abridged translation of the work of the late Roman historian Paulus Orosius. This translation is traditionally attributed to Alfred the Great, who translated many classics from Latin himself, but it was probably made by others as part of the ambitious program of translations that the king organized in order to further the spread of knowledge in his realm. In Alfred's time, the Old English name of the river was spelled Temese or Temes. The spellings of the name of the river with an h, such as Thamyse and Thames, are much later and first begin to appear in the early 1500s. Such spellings are examples of the kind of "learned" respelling that went on in English from the late Renaissance through the Enlightenment, when the prestige of Latin and Greek prompted scholars to "correct" the form of many English words. The a in Thames is etymologically correct, since the Latin forms had that vowel, but the h is a "learned" error, added in the mistaken belief that Thames derived from a Greek word, such as the name of a Greek river called the Thyamis. Such errors were common, and many words that had nothing to do with Greek were respelled to make them look Greek. In many cases, the pronunciations of these words changed accordingly, yielding what linguists call a spelling pronunciation; for example, author, from Latin auctor and not from a Greek word, is now pronounced with a (th), even though we would strictly expect it to be pronounced with a (t) instead. The pronunciation of Thames remained unchanged, however, providing an etymologically explicable example of the notorious discrepancy between English spelling and pronunciation.

Word Histories. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Thames — steht für: Flüsse: Themse (River Thames), ein Fluss in England Thames River (Ontario), ein Fluss in der Provinz Ontario in Kanada Thames River (Neuseeland), ein Fluss in Neuseeland Thames River (Connecticut), ein Fluss in Connecticut Orte und… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Thames — 1.) the Thames the longest river in England, which flows from the west into the North Sea. In London, many well known bridges across the Thames connect the north and south of the city, and many important buildings, including the Houses of… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Thames TV —    Thames TV was formed in 1967 with the merger of ABC Television and Associated Rediffusion, two ITV franchise holders, to create a new company to run the London weekday franchise. Until it lost its franchise to Carlton in 1993, Thames TV was… …   Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture

  • Thames — (spr. Dehms), 1) so v.w. Themse; 2) Fluß im Staate Connecticut (Nordamerika), wird gebildet aus der Vereinigung der Quinebaug, Shetucket u. Yantic Rivers bei Norwich in der Grafschaft New London, fließt südlich, ist durchgehends für große… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Thames [1] — Thames (spr. temms), 1) Fluß, s. Themse. – 2) Fluß im nordamerikan. Staate Connecticut, entsteht durch Vereinigung von Quinebaug und Shetucket mit dem Yantic, wird bei Norwich für 4 m tiefgehende Seeschiffe fahrbar und mündet 22 km unterhalb bei… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Thames [2] — Thames (spr. temms), Stadt auf der Nordinsel in Neuseeland, s. Grahamstown 2) …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Thames — (spr. temms), Fluß, s. Themse; Stadt auf Neuseeland, s. Grahamstown, 2 …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Thames —   [temz], Fluss in England, Themse.   …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Thames — O.E. Temese, from L. Tamesis (51 B.C.E.), from Brit. Tamesa, an ancient Celtic river name perhaps meaning the dark one. The h is unhistorical (see TH (Cf. th)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • Thames — [temz; ] for 3 [ thāmz, tāmz, temz] 1. river in S England, flowing from Gloucestershire east through London into the North Sea: 210 mi (338 km) 2. [after the English river] river in SE Ontario, Canada, flowing southwest into Lake St. Clair: 163… …   English World dictionary

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