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A friend studying Old English, having read my brief disquisition on prayer and the word bead, elaborates on my amateur’s etymology lesson:

Gebed is still in use in modern Dutch as “prayer,” though they hack it out a lot more than the OE, which sounds like yebed. Those Dutch “g’s” are much more hacky. But all those “bead” words go even further back (don’t they always?) to what became our word “bid,” which is itself a conflation of two OE words. One is “beodan” (“bede” by ME), which means “to stretch out, offer, present” and from there, “to announce, proclaim, command.” The noun “boda,” which means “messenger” derives from that word, so we say, “This bodes well” and so on. The other word is “biddan,” which means “to ask pressingly, beg, pray, require, demand, command.” He baed him hlafas wyrcan = He asked him to (bade him) make loaves (of bread). It is interesting that if we use the word “ask” in that sentence, we would normally use the infinitive “to make,” whereas if we (somewhat weirdly) used the word “bade,” then the infinitive doesn’t feel as necessary. Anyway, those words got conflated—definitely after the Conquest, and maybe even before, I’m not sure—and eventually became our word “bid,”which can mean all kinds of things.

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