gu-

Word Origin & History

gu-
since g- followed by a vowel in Eng. usually has a "soft" pronunciation, a silent -u- was sometimes inserted between the g- and the vowel in M.E. to signal hardness, especially in words from Fr.; but this was not done with many Scand. words where hard "g" precedes a vowel (gear, get, give, etc.). Gmc.
-w- generally became -gu- in words borrowed into Romance languages, but O.N.Fr. preserved the Frankish -w-, and Eng. sometimes borrowed both forms, hence guarantee/warranty, guard/ward, etc.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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