curd / crud / cruddy

Curd is the coagulated substance found in many milk products, formed either naturally or by the addition of rennet. Crud is a modern American slang term for filth. The two may be related, but their connection is a bit mysterious and lost to the ages.

The ultimate origin of curd is unknown. It has no cognates in the Romance or other Germanic languages. If it appeared in Old English, it doesn’t survive in any of the extant manuscripts from before the Norman Conquest. Cruth, gruth, and groth appear in Irish and Scots Gaelic, but it’s unknown if these Celtic words are related to the English one. English may have acquired curd from the Celtic, or the Celtic words may have been borrowed from English.

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