gable

gable (n.) mid-14c., from O.Fr. gable "facade, front, gable," from O.N. gafl "gable, gable-end" (in north of England, the word is probably directly from Norse), probably from P.Gmc. *gablaz "top of a pitched roof" (Cf. M.Du. ghevel, Du. gevel, O.H.G. gibil, Ger. Geibel, Goth. gibla "gable"), from PIE *ghebhel. Cognates seem to be words meaning both "fork" (Cf. O.E. gafol, geafel, O.S. gafala, Du. gaffel, O.H.G. gabala "pitchfork," Ger. Gabel "fork;" O.Ir. gabul "forked twig") and "head" (Cf. O.H.G. gibilla, O.S. gibillia "skull").
Possibly the primitive meaning of the words may have been 'top', 'vertex'; this may have given rise to the sense of 'gable', and this latter to the sense of 'fork', a gable being originally formed by two pieces of timber crossed at the top supporting the end of the roof-tree." [OED]
Related: Gabled; gables.

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

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