Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Etymology of the Word "Ginger"

I recently received a really interesting email from a guy named Jeff Green regarding the etymology of the word ginger. He's kindly allowed me to share the email on here;
"I have been trying to research the origins of the word ginger as I am a redhead.  I have a theory that you may or may not find of interest.
Obviously, everybody refers to the ginger plant, with it’s red flower as the reason for calling redheads ginger.  The question that I can’t find a satisfactory answer to is how the plant got the name.
I’ve searched for any words that are similar to ginger and I came across an old Akkadian word – Gingira meaning Goddess or female creator.  The name Gingira can be used to refer to the various goddesses of ancient empires from Babylon to Egypt (Ishtar, Astarte, Innana, Isis etc).  My on-going studies will naturally go down the road of what colour hair these goddesses actually had.  I’ve seen a few of Madonna’s recent Goddess performances on Youtube and it caught my eye that she doesn’t use make-up to give a more melanin enriched appearance!  If these goddesses were readheads, then calling someone ginger haired would really mean that you were calling them goddess haired.  I think the plant is just a middle-man in the history of ginger/redhead.
Just a theory but more than plausible."
This is the first time I've ever heard anyone suggest this theory and it seems like a promising path to go down. If anyone has any information that would help it would be most appreciated.

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