dear


dear
dear O.E. deore "precious, valuable, costly, loved, beloved," from P.Gmc. *deurjaz (Cf. O.S. diuri, O.N. dyrr, O.Fris. diore, M.Du. dure, Du. duur, O.H.G. tiuri, Ger. teuer), ultimate origin unknown. Used interjectorily since 1690s. As a polite introductory word to letters, it is attested from mid-15c. As a noun, from late 14c., perhaps short for dear one, etc.

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

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