September 06, 2007

nothing marks the end of summer like a shiny chestnut

No, they are not related to chest. For a long time, the word was spelled chesnut in English. We owe the current spelling to the popularity of Samuel Johnson's dictionary.

The origin of the word is the Latin word castanea, chasteine in Middle English. It's still recognizable in the German word for chestnut (Kastanie), the Spanish word (castana), and the Italian word (castagna). Chest, by contrast, is derived from the Latin word for box (cista).

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