Category: Word origins

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

Read more »
The history of the word hip, which has led to words like hipster and hippie

The history of the word ‘hip’

James Brown was famously introduced by Lucas ‘Fats’ Gonder at the Apollo Theater in the early 1960s as ‘The Hardest Working Man in Show Business’, an epithet that stuck with Brown for his entire life. It is a fitting term for the word hip – the hardest working word in the lexicon of American slang. […]

Read more »

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

Read more »
How did we end up with these ocean names?

How the oceans got their names

Let’s take a look at the linguistic roots of the world’s five oceans. Before we start, what of ocean itself? The word comes to English via Latin from the Greek ōkeanos, which meant ‘great stream encircling the earth’s disc’. The word ocean originally denoted the whole body of water which the ancient Greeks believed to […]

Read more »
emmy

Where do awards names come from?

While some arts awards – the New York Film Critics Circle Awards, for instance – more or less tell you what they are by their name, other awards have a little more mystery in their monikers. Oscar According to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), the alternate name for an Academy Award – an ‘Oscar’ – […]

Read more »

Video: what is the origin of the word loo?

Read more »

Video: what is the origin of the word snob?

Read more »
sixties TV

16 words from the 1960s

As the television show Mad Men draws to a close, we thought it might be fun to reflect on the contributions to language made by the turbulent decade of the 1960s. The legacy of the 1960s on language is not surprising, given the huge shifts in culture, including the Civil Rights movement, the apex of […]

Read more »

Tweets