I Love Word Origins

Personal Stories, Advice, and Support 160 People


    sabotage (n.) Look up sabotage at Dictionary.com 1910, from Fr. sabotage, from saboter "to sabotage, bungle," lit. "walk noisily," from sabot "wooden shoe" (13c.), altered (by association with O.Fr. bot "boot") from M.Fr. savate "...
    iams iams
    41-45, M
    2 Responses Jul 23, 2009

    I Really Enjoy

    hoi pol·loi n.  The common people; the masses. [Greek, the many : hoi, nominative pl. of ho, the; see so- in Indo-European roots + polloi, nominative pl. of polus, many; see pelə-1 in Indo-European roots.] Usage Note: Hoi polloi is a borrowing of the...
    penname penname
    41-45, F
    1 Response Jul 29, 2009


     The Chinese custom of binding the feet of the girls in earlier times led to their feet being extremely small.  The smallest feet was considered a great sign of beauty.  Sometimes the feet were so grotesquely deformed with the toes pointing in different directions...
    greatleo greatleo
    46-50, M
    1 Response Jul 22, 2009


      Noun 1. tovarich - a comrade (especially in Russian communism) tovarisch Russia, Soviet Union, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, USSR - a former communist country...
    koyptakh koyptakh
    51-55, M
    5 Responses Oct 1, 2009

    With The Presidential Election Being Held This Year, I Thought This To Be Appropriate...

    This is by far one of the funniest word breakdowns I've ever heard. Think about the word POLITICS POLY is the latin word for MANY and a TICK is a blood succking parasite. Fitting, no?
    ladyzantorian ladyzantorian
    18-21, F
    2 Responses Feb 1, 2012


      wise Pronunciation: (wīz), [key]  —adj., wis•er, wis•est, —v., wised, wis•ing.  —adj.  1. having the power of discerning and judging properly as to what is true or right; possessing...
    balboaguy balboaguy
    41-45, M
    3 Responses Sep 4, 2009


     As drawn to look at someone riveting. FAO riryuuen23 riv·et n. A metal bolt or pin having a head on one end, inserted through aligned holes in the pieces to be joined and then hammered on the plain end so as to form a second head. tr.v. riv·et...
    koyptakh koyptakh
    51-55, M
    3 Responses Jul 24, 2009


    Every Irish person should know the origin of this word! From Wikipedia: The word boycott entered the English language during the Irish "Land War" and is derived from the name of Captain Charles Boycott, the estate agent of an absentee landlord, the Earl Erne, in...
    iams iams
    41-45, M
    2 Responses Jul 23, 2009


    quixotic kwik-SOT-ik , adjective: 1. Caught up in the romance of noble deeds and the pursuit of unreachable goals; foolishly impractical especially in the pursuit of ideals. 2. Capricious; impulsive; unpredictable. the etyomogy of the word has to do...
    anthychan anthychan
    2 Responses Jul 22, 2009


    Iota (uppercase Ι, lowercase ι; Greek: Ιώτα [jota] Yota/Jota) the ninth letter of the Greek alphabet. In the system of Greek numerals it has a value of 10. It was derived from the Phoenician letter Yodh (). Letters that arose from this letter include the Roman I and J and...
    koyptakh koyptakh
    51-55, M
    Nov 17, 2010


      "To peter out" was apparently first used by American miners referring to exhausted veins of ore.The origin is uncertain. It may come from "saltpetre" (used in the miners' explosives, so called because it forms a salt-like cruston rocks...
    koyptakh koyptakh
    51-55, M
    10 Responses Jul 22, 2009


      Moody and melancholy; dejected; Gloomy; dismal.  The Glums  akin to Middle English gloumen to gloom Date: 1547    moody, sulky; despondent, melancholy. Glum, morose, ...
    koyptakh koyptakh
    51-55, M
    6 Responses Aug 31, 2009


     Lollygag is American born and bred. It made its first appearance in print in the 1860s. The indefatigable Evan Morris, known to his fans as The Word Detective, says the clue might be in "loll." Morris says this "is a very old word originally meaning...
    koyptakh koyptakh
    51-55, M
    4 Responses Aug 1, 2009


     I just heard this word. A friend used it to mean any food eaten with rice. I goggled it and found:   Main Entry: vi·and  Pronunciation: ˈvī-ənd Function: noun Etymology: Middle English, viaunde, from Anglo-French, from...
    koyptakh koyptakh
    51-55, M
    Sep 28, 2009

    Useful to Know

    Sometimes when I stumble onto a new word, recognizing parts of it and knowing the origin of those parts helps me to understand the whole word.
    Geode Geode
    31-35, F
    Sep 24, 2009


    Wire used in baling hay. adj. Informal 1. Mentally confused or erratic; crazy: went haywire over the interminable delays. 2. Not functioning...
    koyptakh koyptakh
    51-55, M
    5 Responses Aug 1, 2009


    I copied this: Origin Old English [OE] Weather goes back ultimately to the Indo-European base *we- ‘blow’, which also produced English ventilate and wind. From it were formed two nouns, *wedhrom (source of Russian vedro ‘good weather’) and *wetróm (source of Lithuanian...
    koyptakh koyptakh
    51-55, M
    1 Response Jul 10, 2011


     From PopokiChanel's favorite childhood book "Phantoms"...the author is describing a sleazy cop and he says "he belched and farted with aplomb"    PopokiChanel also says: "aplomb  Pronunciation:ə-ˈpläm, -ˈpləm...
    koyptakh koyptakh
    51-55, M
    4 Responses Jul 24, 2009


     fath·om, verb –noun 1.     a unit of length equal to six feet (1.8 meters): used chiefly in nautical measurements. Abbreviation: fath –verb (used with object) 2.     to measure the depth of by means of a sounding line...
    iams iams
    41-45, M
    Jul 28, 2009

    raining cats and dogs - If you've corrected

    your child after he or she took this phrase literally, you may owe them a slight apology! The origin of this saying dates back to the 1600s. Poor drainage systems on buildings in the 17th century caused gutters to overflow, spewing out along with water, garbage and a few...
    SailorsAngel SailorsAngel
    41-45, F
    Aug 2, 2014

    Obsessed With Language!

    i love words!  dedicated English major here..heheh.  at a flea market in Woodstock, NY, i came across a copy of Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, 1945 or 1951 edition (i also have a fondness for old books).  it's full of amazing facts about the origins...
    usetheforceluke usetheforceluke
    26-30, F
    7 Responses Nov 20, 2009

    Etymology, Terrific, and Epistemology

    etymology, the study and philosophy of words, their origins and meanings   1398, from Gk. etymologia, from etymon "true sense" (neut. of etymos "true," related to eteos "true") + logos "word." In classical times, of meanings; later...
    wordsmith85 wordsmith85
    22-25, M
    3 Responses Jul 23, 2009
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