Origins

  1. These Words Originated From Native American Languages

  2. What Are The Differences Between “Nerds,” “Geeks,” And “Dorks”?

    These names used to be roughly interchangeable when distinguishing the social outcasts from the in-crowd in school. Yet, those so-called social rejects were destined to rule the world in the form of Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, et al. “The geek shall inherit the earth,” indeed. Oh yeah, and billions of dollars.  There’s a lot of overlap in the meanings of nerd, geek, and …

  3. 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 octagon—the Latin octo and Greek okto, meaning “eight.” So, how did October become the 10th month? The original Roman calendar had only ten months, …

  4. Seven Essential Words Of Fall

  5. What Did The Word “Nice” Used To Mean?

    What’s the origin of nice? Nice, it turns out, began as a negative term derived from the Latin nescius, meaning “unaware, ignorant.” This sense of “ignorant” was carried over into English when the word was first borrowed (via French) in the early 1300s. And for almost a century, nice was used to characterize a “stupid, ignorant, or foolish” person. Starting in the late 1300s, nice began …

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    Thank Your Babushka For These 8 Russian Loanwords In English

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    What Is “GOP” Short For?

    The Republican party has a lot of history. Its origins are interesting in their own right, but one particular part of the party’s history is its nickname: the GOP. Where did this nickname come from and what in the world does it mean? What does GOP mean? The Republican Party picked up the Grand Old Party label in the 1880s, and that’s where the acronym GOP came from. The …

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    Where Does The Phrase “Cut The Mustard” Come From?

    As with many slang and idiomatic phrases, the origin of cut the mustard isn’t so … clear-cut. But, let’s see if we can’t crack this etymological jar open just a bit. What does “cut the mustard” mean? To cut the mustard is “to reach or surpass the desired standard or performance” or more generally “to succeed, to have the ability to do something.” For instance, Beyoncé …

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    How Did The Month Of June Get Its Name?

    June is a great month. School’s out. The days are long. The weather’s warm. Perhaps the Anglo-Saxons—who spoke that linguistic ancestor of English known as Old English—were onto something when they collectively called June and July Liða. That’s pronounced like [lee–thuh], with the character ð having the voiced th-, like this. Liða itself may mean “calm” or “mild.” On its own, June was sometimes also referred to as Ærra-Liða, which is like …

  10. 10 Words Coined In The Sci-Fi Universe