The Unexpected History of Words We All Know

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Trivial Diversions

The Unexpected History of Words We All Know

The Unexpected History of Words We All Know

Most of the words we use every day didn’t just spring up from nowhere, and many of them have long and storied histories (although I’m still scratching my head over ‘on fleek’). Some of the most basic words in our vocabulary have entirely bizarre histories that make the word even more fun to use in the here and now. Check out these great etymologies to get a little extra giggle out of your everyday language.

1. The origin of the word “bride” is a proto-Germanic word that means “to cook.”

2. Mortgage (everyone’s favorite word) appropriately comes from a French word meaning “death contract.”

3. Avocados are hugely popular fruits today, and we originally got the name for them from the Aztec word ahuacatl. What does that mean? Testicle.

4. Today the word man means someone of the male persuasion, but originally it had the same meaning as person. The word “wer” meant man, while “man” was connected with thinking.

5. Robot originally comes from the Czech “robota” which means forced labor.

6. Alcohol is proof that god exists and loves us, and even ancient English people knew it. Whiskey came from whiskeybae, which derives from Old English “usquebae”. That is a combination of two Gaelic words, uisce (water) and bethu (life). Whiskey=water of life.

7. Another roundabout history goes with the word porcelain. It originally comes from the Italian “porcellana” which refers to a cowrie shell. The word was used for the porcelain material because of the comparable smoothness. The word for the shell comes from porcella, a young pig, because the shell looks a little bit like a pig’s vagina.

8. We all hate it when someone uses jargon because it’s completely impossible to understand. The word makes sense though. It comes from a French word meaning to twitter like birds.

9. Hazard originally came from an Arabic word that means dice. We all know how hazardous games of chance are, making it an apt origin.

10. Lunatic comes from luna, the moon. For many years it was believed that insanity was caused by the moon.

11. The Old English word mare is a demon that suffocates you while you’re sleeping. Put it together with night and you have the modern word for bad dreams.

Related topics etymology, words
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