Category: Word origins
There are 290 posts.
Adore the fedora: what links an item of men’s headwear and a glamorous fin-de-siècle French actress?
Most sources agree that the fedora, the familiar soft felt hat with a curled brim and a creased crown, sported by heroes and antiheros alike in period TV and film drama—including Indiana Jones and Don Draper of Mad Men —is named after the eponymous heroine of the 1882 play Fédora, by Victorien Sardou, played in […]more
Dope has lived a diverse slang life over the span of two centuries, only coming to its hip-hop adjectival sense of ‘good or excellent’ in the last 35 years. Fools and thick liquids Dope as a stupid person was early American slang, first recorded in 1851, according to current Oxford English Dictionary (OED) evidence. Usage […]more
The word seems to crop up every time you read a report on current cultural trends, especially in the US: millennial, referring to a ‘person reaching young adulthood around the year 2000’. But how did we end up with the term in the first place? And what about those other generation terms, like the Beat […]more
Nothing is stranger than discovering that words or phrases we hear every day have offensive or problematic origins. And while there’s no need to cast aspersions on the language of bygone days, it’s helpful to check in on the words we use and what they mean (or used to mean). Some of the words here […]more