Tag: etymology

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

Read more »
fedora

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 […]

Read more »
Swear words, etymology, and the history of English

Swear words, etymology, and the history of English

Have you ever noticed that many of our swear words sound very much like German ones and not at all like French ones? From vulgar words for body parts (a German Arsch is easy to identify, but not so the French cul), to scatological and sexual verbs (doubtless you can spot what scheissen and ficken […]

Read more »

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

Read more »

Video: what is the origin of the word loo?

Read more »
golden compass

The language of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the publication of Northern Lights (published in the US as The Golden Compass), the first novel in Philip Pullman’s hugely successful His Dark Materials trilogy. In the preface, the author tells us that the story is set in a universe ‘like ours, but different in many ways’. One […]

Read more »

Video: what is the origin of the word snob?

Read more »
ballot box

The vocabulary of voting… a look at election etymology

As Britain goes to the polls, the thought of millions of people up and down the country shuffling into polling booths, quietly putting a cross on a piece of paper and dropping it into a box can sometimes make me misty-eyed about the age-old simplicity of the democratic ritual. But just as age-old as that process […]

Read more »

Take our poll…

Tweets