Futch"el(?), n. The jaws between which the hinder end of a carriage tongue is inserted. Knight.
futhorcn. 1. [From the sounds of the first five letters.] the name for the runic alphabet. See rune.
The name is derived from the sounds of the first five letters of the runic alphabet, f, u, th, o, r, and c. The vowel sound of the fourth letter corresponded more closely to
a in the earlier versions used in Scandinavian countries, and the earlier alphabet is therefore referred to as the
futhark. The fifth rune had a sound like that of
k, and in the Danish
futhark the fifth character is that transliterated as
k. Thus the runic alphabet is also called the
futhark. The third rune had a sound and form resembling that of the Anglo-Saxon
thorn, which represented the
th sound at the beginning of the word
thorn. The origins of the runic alphabet are obscure, but the earliest forms may have been invented around the second century A.D. in eastern Europe. The forms of some of the letters show a relation to the Latin or Greek alphabets, and the futhorc was presumably in part an adaptation of those alphabets to the sound of the Germanic tongues. An inscription of the
futhark itself, an ordered list of the runes, was found on an object dated as early as the fifth century A.D. The Scandinavian
futharc had 16 runes, but the
futhorc used in Anglo-Saxon England had 31. The
futhark was mostly used for writing on wood, for which reason the runes were comprised of only vertical and diagonal strokes. The degree of widespread use of the futharc is not known but it was probably used mostly for short messages or inscriptions on objects. Fewer than 10,000 runic inscriptions, both on wood and stone, have been found. The number and forms of some of the runes varied over time and locality.
R. I. Page, "Runes".
Fu"thork} (?), n.
The letters are called Runes and the alphabet bears the name Futhorc from the first six letters.I. Taylor.
The spelling futharc represents most accurately the original values of these six Runic letters.
[Webster 1913 Suppl.]
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