The term “log” has its origins in the Old English word “logg,” which referred to a part of a tree, particularly a large branch or trunk. Here’s a detailed chronological breakdown:

1. Proto-Indo-European (PIE)

The PIE root “leg-” or “legh-” means “to lie down” or “to be situated,” related to fallen trees or parts of trees lying on the ground.

2. Proto-Germanic

From the PIE root, the Proto-Germanic word “*laguz” developed, which referred to something that lies down, particularly wood or trees.

3. Old Norse

The Proto-Germanic word evolved into Old Norse “lǫg” or “log,” referring to a tree trunk or a log.

4. Old English (c. 5th to 11th century CE)

The term “logg” in Old English was used to describe a large branch or trunk of a tree, retaining its meaning related to wood.

5. Middle English (c. 11th to 15th century CE)

The Old English “logg” evolved into Middle English “log,” maintaining the meaning of a piece of a tree or timber.

6. Modern English (from 15th century CE to present)

The term “log” evolved into its current form and pronunciation, referring to a part of a tree trunk or branch that has been cut or fallen.

The word “log” also came to be associated with records or journals, particularly those kept on ships, where a “logbook” was used to record navigation details. This usage likely derives from the practice of using a wooden log attached to a line to measure a ship’s speed, which was then recorded in the logbook. Thus, the term “log” in the context of a written record or journal evolved from this nautical practice.

Overall, the word “log” reflects its origins in describing wood and its extended meaning in keeping records, especially in maritime contexts.