Thought of the Day: Buildings

Why is it called a building if it’s already built?

The term “building” can be understood in two different senses. In one sense, “building” refers to the process or action of constructing a structure. In this context, it is used as a verb, such as “they are building a house.”

However, in the more common sense, “building” is used as a noun to describe a structure that has been constructed and is intended for human use, such as a house, office building, or skyscraper. This noun form is derived from the verb form but has taken on a different meaning over time.

The reason we still use the term “building” to describe a structure that has already been constructed is likely due to historical linguistic development and convention. The word has become established in the English language to refer to both the action of construction and the result of that action. It is similar to other words in the English language that have retained their original form even though their meaning may have evolved or changed over time.

So, while it might seem a bit counterintuitive, the term “building” is used to describe a constructed structure because it has become conventionally accepted in the English language to refer to both the process and the result of construction.

The word “building” has its origins in the Old English language. It can be traced back to the Old English verb “byldan,” which meant “to build.” The noun form “bylding” was derived from this verb and referred to the act of building or construction.

Over time, the spelling and pronunciation of the word evolved, and it eventually settled on the modern form “building” in Middle English. The word retained its meaning of a constructed structure, referring to a physical edifice created through the process of building.

The etymology of “building” can be further traced to the Proto-Germanic root “builthjaną,” which means “to construct” or “to erect.” This root is related to similar words in other Germanic languages, such as the German word “Bau” and the Dutch word “bouwen.”

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Published by The Sage Page


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