Word Origin & History
O.E. seoþan "to boil" (class II strong verb; past tense seaþ, pp. soden), from P.Gmc. *seuthanan (cf. O.N. sjoða, O.Fris. siatha, Du. zieden, O.H.G. siodan, Ger. sieden "to seethe"), from PIE base *seut- "to seethe, boil." Driven out of its literal meaning by
(v.); it survives largely in metaphoric extensions. Fig. use, of persons or populations, "to be in a state of inward agitation" is recorded from 1588 (implied in seething). It had wider fig. uses in O.E., e.g. "to try by fire, to afflict with cares." Now conjugated weak, and pp. sodden
(q.v.) no longer felt as connected.
"slice of earth with grass on it," c.1420, apparently from M.Du. sode "turf," M.L.G. sode, or O.Fris. satha "sod," all of uncertain origin. The (old) sod "Ireland" is from 1812.
term of abuse, 1818, short for sodomite (see sodomy
). British colloquial sod-all "nothing" is attested from 1958.