17 December 2012

Bayonet and Bayonne

World War II soldier with rifle & bayonet

The bayonet is a word known back to 1610. Originally a type of dagger it was later afapted as a steel stabbing weapon fitted to the muzzle of a firearm.

It comes from the French baionnette  said to be from Bayonne, a city in Gascony, France where supposedly they were first made. It may also have entered the language as a diminutive of the Old French bayon  meaning a "crossbow bolt."

The city name is from the Latin baia "bay" and probably the Basque words meaning "good" and ibai "river" - good bay. The place served as a kind of link between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea and by the 13th century, the city was an important port.

The New Jersey city of Bayonne is a peninsula that is situated between Newark Bay to the west, the Kill van Kull to the south and New York Bay to the east. The city name is probably from from Bayonne, France, from which Huguenots settled for a year before the founding of New Amsterdam.

No comments:

Post a Comment