come O.E. cuman "come, approach, land; come to oneself, recover; arrive; assemble" (class IV strong verb; past tense cuom, com, pp. cumen), from P.Gmc. *kwem- (Cf. O.S. cuman, O.Fris. kuma, M.Du. comen, Du. komen, O.H.G. queman, Ger. kommen, O.N. koma, Goth. qiman), from PIE root *gwa-, *gwem- "to go, come" (Cf. Skt. gamati "he goes," Avestan jamaiti "goes," Tocharian kakmu "come," Lith. gemu "to be born," Gk. bainein "to go, walk, step," L. venire "to come").
The substitution of Middle English -o- for Old English -u- before -m-, -n-, or -r- was a scribal habit before minims to avoid misreading the letters in the old style hand, which jammed them together. Cf. also SOME (Cf. some), MONK (Cf. monk), TONGUE (Cf. tongue), WORM (Cf. worm).
Modern past tense form came is Middle English, probably from O.N. kvam, replacing O.E. cuom. Remarkably productive with prepositions (NTC's "Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs" lists 198 combinations); consider the varied senses in come to "regain consciousness," come over "possess" (as an emotion), come at "attack," come on (interj.) "be serious," and come off "occur." For sexual senses, see CUM (Cf. cum).

Etymology dictionary. 2014.


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