To be a daisy
Who could not love the fact that a “daisy” gets its name from being the “day’s eye”, because the flower opens in sunlight?
Why does the commonest verb in English—“to be”—have the wildly irregular conjugation am-is-are-was-were? Nobody would design such a verb, and indeed no one did. It is in fact a mash-up of three proto-Germanic roots, one of which produced am-is-are, one of which yielded was-were (replacing the past tense of the am-is group, in a process called suppletion), and one resulting in be itself.
It is the duck-billed platypus of verbs, an odd hybrid of features.
But just as evolutionary biology explains the platypus, historical linguistics shows how the three verbs piled up on each other.
Johnson in the Economist