Dreu is an ancient word that means tree. It is sometimes written as dóru or deru. It is a word so old that we can no longer read it directly. We intuit its prehistoric existence by the long shadow it casts across language. Many more recent words share a similar sound and similar meaning. The Sanskrit word dru (tree or wood) is one example of an old descendant of dreu. Today, dreu's shadow persists in words like druid (tree seer) and dryad (wood nymph).

Over time, dreu evolved to embody the functional qualities of wood: solid, firm, strong. These qualities traveled with its sound into Europe, where it became the Ancient Greek droón (strong, mighty), Latin durus (hard, rough), and the Old Norse trausta (strong). The corresponding Old Norse traust conveyed a type of social strength: help, confidence, protection and assistant support. This social bond evolved into the Old High German word trost (fidelity), from which we can most clearly identify the modern word trust.

Trust is a firm belief in the strength or reliability of something or someone. It is a precious thing, not easily gained, and often in short supply. Trust conveys a confidence in the signals the world is delivering to you: They must be true, or at least in some sort of harmony with facts and reality. Trust is forever tied linguistically to truth, from the Old English treowian (to believe) and treowe (faithful). Both also stem from the ancient word dreu. They are almost indistinguishable from ...

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