What could have been possible if there were no words. Probably nothing! Etymology, the study of origin of words, is interesting, atleast to me. English words are based on religion and I am sure so are the words in other languages. An average human being uses about 3000 to 5000 words daily, men and women, respectively. Ever wondered how did they originate. I will tell you how some of the words we use everyday found their existence.
Goodbyes and farewells have emotions attached to them. The most common word used to bid farewell to people is goodbye. It actually means ‘God be with you’ and traces its first use back to the 14th century. It hasn’t changed since then unlike several other words that have undergone changes with people and generations. The word goodbye we use today is exactly the way it was made.
Now, this one has a very interesting story attached to it. It might not be true but it sure is fascinating. Remember who invented the telephone? Alexander Graham Bell did. His girlfriend’s name was Margaret Hello and he used her name as a greeting so that people remember her. Others believe that the word hello actually comes from Spanish word Hola, which means stop and pay attention. The next time someone says hello to you, do remember Margaret Hello and do pay attention.
The word was originally spelled as ‘bouse’ in English in the 14th century. The word underwent changes and was spelt as booze for the first time in the 17th century. The Dutch had a word ‘busen’, which meant to drink too much or to get drunk. The word booze we speak today is a combination of these words.
In the erstwhile era, the word plastic actually meant something that could be reshaped or molded. It is a combination of two words, Plastikos from Greek and the Latin word Plasticus. Both of them mean something that can be molded. The word dates back to the 1600s.
The word muscle comes from ‘little mouse’. People thought that muscles appear as if there are little mice under the skin. Am sure, back then, there was no cellulite and muscles actually looked the way they should. Alas, today we have to burn it up at the gym to get the ‘little mice under my skin’ effect.
People always believed that insanity is caused by the changes in the Moon and even today, astrologers associate changes in the Moon to changes people undergo in their lives. The 28-day cycle, the high tide and the low tide and the storm of content that appears over the internet when Moon appears bigger and brighter. But lunatic actually comes from a Latin word luna, which means Moon.
You have it, I have it, we all have it. The word Jeans was first used in the United States of America in 1843 but much before that, the word Jean was used by people in Italy. French made jeans using fustian, which is a kind of twilled cotton cloth from Genoa in Italy. Americans simply made it plural.
If stories are to be believed then cocktail first happened when tavern owners started combining the dregs (tailing) of barrels that got empty. A barrel’s spigot is known as a cock. A concoction used to be amalgamated and sold off at bargain prices. Therefore, this cock-tailing led to the fancy margaritas and martinis we have today.