In class yesterday, one student posed the question about the origin of the word, 'nature'. As a self proclaimed lexophile, I decided to have a little web-searching adventure and try to uncover the truth.
According to Suite101.com, the word nature is very old, over 5000 years, but has only been specifically part of the English language for about 700 years. It was derived from a word from the Old French language which meant 'course of things, character, the universe and birth.' Over the past 700 years, the term has evolved in English to mean "essential qualities and innate disposition" as well as "the creative power in the material world."
Consultsos.com, a site devoted to etymological subjects has quite a lot to say about the root of the word nature as well as many of its derivatives. If you'd like to see the article to learn more about this old and prolific word, the website is: http://www.consultsos.com/pandora/nativity.htm .
FYI, today is National Puzzle Day! So visit jigzone.com and indulge in a nature themed puzzle to celebrate this quixotic holiday :-p