Origins

  1. The Suffocating History Behind The Word “Nightmare”

    It's dark. You're alone. Was that a footstep? Did something just brush up against you? You fight to get up, but you're stuck ... right on top of you is a horrifying nightmare. Sorry, did you say a nightmare was on top of me?
  2. Words You Didn’t Know Came From NYC

    Ah, New York—the city that gave the world the Trumps, the 2016 Broadway revival of Cats, and countless regional slang terms that made their way into the national lexicon. We all know that terms like Wall Street and fuggedaboutit are classic five-borough speak, but check out the following Big Apple words that are used nationwide. flea market The Dutch were the first immigrants to New …

  3. Made-up Words Said By The People In Charge

  4. Ghost Words That Are Haunting The Dictionary

  5. Why Is Thursday Named For a Comic Book Character?

    Maybe you’ve read the comic books or seen some of the Marvel movies that feature a big blond guy named Thor, founding member of the Avengers and brother of Loki. But, Thursday is a bigger tribute to the Norse god of thunder than any movie or comic book upon which it’s based. After all, it is “Thor’s day.” Who is Thor? In Norse mythology, the original Thor …

  6. Which Words Did English Take From Other Languages?

    English is a More Varied (and Delicious) Melting Pot Than You Think … English—is one of the most incredible, flavorfully-complex melting pots of linguistic ingredients from other countries that’s been left to simmer for (in some cases) centuries. These linguistic ingredients are called loanwords that have been borrowed and incorporated into English. The loanwords are oftentimes so common now, the foreign flavor has been completely …

  7. Where Does The Name October Come From?

    October is here, and in the northern hemisphere that often means the days are flush with falling leaves, chilling weather, and growing anticipation for the holiday season. The tenth month by our Gregorian calendar, October shares a root with octopus and octothorpe—the Latin octo-, meaning “eight.” So, how did October become the 10th month? In the Roman calendar, which had only ten months, October was …

  8. What’s The Origin Of The F-word?

    It’s one of the most versatile words in the English language, but where did the F-word really come from? Originally, the naughtiest of naughty words was actually quite an acceptable word, though no English speaker would say that today. F-ck is believed to have first showed up in written form some time in the 1400s, and it was disguised in a cypher, although it was in use well …

  9. Speak The Season: 7 Essential Words Of Fall

  10. Fall Once Had A Different Name

    We may call it fall, but once upon a time the season that comes after summer but before winter was referred to simply as “harvest.” The old name for fall At the time, the name was used to reflect the time when farmers gathered their crops for winter storage, roughly between August and November. Astronomically, the season lasts from the end of September until December, …

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