The term “manual” comes from the Latin word “manualis,” which means “of or pertaining to the hand.” This is derived from the Latin word “manus,” meaning “hand.”

1. Proto-Indo-European (PIE)

The PIE root “*man-” means “hand.”

2. Latin

From the PIE root, the Latin word “manus” developed, meaning “hand.” The adjective “manualis” is derived from “manus” and means “of or pertaining to the hand.”

3. Old French (c. 9th to 14th century CE)

The Latin term “manualis” evolved into Old French “manuel,” meaning “manual” or “pertaining to the hand.”

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

The Old French “manuel” was adopted into Middle English as “manual,” meaning “of or pertaining to the hand” or “done by hand.”

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

The term “manual” evolved into its current form and pronunciation, retaining the meanings of “related to the hand” or “done by hand.” It also came to refer to a handbook or guide.

Phonetic Evolution

Over time, the pronunciation of “manual” has remained relatively stable from Old French to Modern English.

Usage Examples

  • “Manual is often used to describe tasks or work that is done by hand.”
  • “Another example of ‘manual’ in a sentence is ‘He prefers manual labor over working with machines.'”

Cultural or Historical Notes

The development of the word “manual” was significantly influenced by its use in describing tasks and work done by hand, particularly before the widespread use of machinery and automation. It also came to denote handbooks or instructional guides, which provide step-by-step procedures typically done by hand.

The word “manual” reflects the concept of hand-related tasks and activities, emphasizing the importance of hands-on work and detailed instructions in various fields, including labor, craftsmanship, and education.