What was the first English word? Because language disappears into the air as soon as it is spoken, it can be hard to tell when any particular language began. But if there are artifacts with writing left behind, we can get some idea of its beginnings. The earliest English word we have a record of was discovered during an archeological dig near Norwich, England in the early 1930s. It was written in an ancient runic script carved on the bone of a deer: "raihan." But what does it mean?
Related Video: 10 Historical Words We Should Bring Back
A Linguistic Enigma
What Does It Mean?
What Was It For?
Written by Arika Okrent April 13, 2018
Wake up with the smartest email in your inbox.
Our Best Articles Daily