Category: Word origins


6 unexpected origins of vegetarian recipes

1 October is World Vegetarian Day, and to celebrate we’re looking at the language behind 6 famous vegetarian dishes – with some help from recipes at Just click on the recipe names to head over to 1. Bubble and squeak This British meal is cooked cabbage fried with cooked potatoes, and is often made […]

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Video: what is the origin of the word ‘penguin’?

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Video: how did the flea market and computer bug get their names?

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What is the origin of silhouette, nicotine and leotard?

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Video: what is the origin of the word ‘hazard’?

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7 facts about where clothing names come from

Lots of clothing, it turns out, wears its origins on its sleeves. The names of lots of common clothing items and materials actually come from their place (or person) of origin. 1. denim The hard-wearing cotton twill fabric, usually blue and often used for jeans, is pretty straightforward about its origins; denim comes from Nîmes, […]

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Critters, jitters, and transmitters: the history of ‘bug’

Bug has various common uses, and none of them are particularly pleasant. Whether you’ve come down with a bug, found a bug on your phone, worried about the Millennium bug, or been bitten by a bug, you’re unlikely to welcome the bug into your life. But how did the word come to mean such disparate […]

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From teaspoons to tea-sots: the language of tea

Tea was first imported into Britain early in the 17th century, becoming very popular by the 1650s. The London diarist Samuel Pepys drank his first cup in 1660, as recorded in his famous diary: ‘I did send for a cup of tee (a China drink) of which I had never drunk before’. The word tea […]

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