What do a.m. and p.m. stand for?



"shame, disgrace" (obsolete or dialectal), Old English scand "ignominy, shame, confusion, disgrace; scandal, disgraceful thing; wretch, impostor, infamous man; bad woman," from the source of Old English scamu "shame" (see shame (n.)) + -þa, with change of -m- to -n- before a dental. (cf. Old Frisian skande, Dutch schande , Old High German scanda, German Schande "disgrace"). Also in early Modern English as a verb, shend (Old English scendan) "put to shame; blame, reproach; bring to ruin."

It was active in forming compounds, e.g. shendful (Old English scandful) "shameful," shendship "disgrace;" Old English scandhus "house of ill-fame," scandlic "shameful," scandlufiende "loving shamefully," scandword "obscene language").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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