Every one of them is like a lid: prise it off and peer in. Most of them go down miles. You can hear screams and laughing. The stink that comes out of some words interrogated: look inside scrag, or unguent.
I met a man who had documented the “i” sound. It felt like we were looking into the caves of our ancestors when he showed us the “i” in glimmer, glint, glisten. A fleck of light had become a noise.
But some words are phantoms. Their lineage is confused, or simply an empty document. The words fun big bad jam jaw put dog , we are told, haven’t a clear starting point. Cobbled together or misheard or artificially introduced, they are out of nowhere. Latin and Anglo-Saxon shrug their shoulders at them all.
Jam. Have fun and put jam on the bad dog. The big, bad dog. Rip these words off like scabs and there’s not much inside. Three letter etymological mysteries.