Posts tagged ‘word origins’

November 25, 2013


 In the 1540s, the guinea fowl, was imported from Madagascar through Turkey by traders known as turkey merchants. The guinea fowl was also nicknamed the turkey fowl. Then, the Spanish brought turkeys back from the Americas by way of North Africa and Turkey, where the bird was mistakenly called the same name. Europeans who encountered the bird in the Americas latched on to the “turkey fowl” name, and the term was condensed simply to “turkey.”


October 28, 2013


The word “witch” comes from the old Anglo-Saxon word “wicca” meaning “wise one”.  The earliest witches were respected dealers in charms, medical herbs and fortune telling.

October 14, 2013


The word “pumpkin” actually comes from a Greek word pepon meaning “large melon”.  Over the many centuries the pumpkin has been around,
the French evolved the word into pomponPumpion became the new
word in England, when Shakespeare made mention of it in the Merry Wives of Windsor. Colonists in America finalized the modern term of pumpkin.


October 1, 2013


A silhouette is an outline drawing, or a profile portrait cut from black paper. The word arose in the late 1700s when Etienne de Silhouette, a French minister of finance, imposed high taxes on the French upper classes during the Seven Years War. Because painted portraits were too pricey, these profile cut outs were an inexpensive way to immortalize a face. At the time, Silhouette’s name was synonymous with anything made cheaply, but for these paper portraits the name stuck to this day.


September 24, 2013


Lollipop literally means ‘tongue slap’.


August 26, 2013


 Gazoozle is an old slang word that meant someone who cheats.


June 24, 2013

From A to Zinc


VITAMIN is an invented word first used by the Polish-born American biochemist, Casimir Funk in 1913. It is taken from Latin “vita” meaning life and amine, because they were thought to contain amino acids.


June 21, 2013

“Summertime is always the best of what might be.” – Charles Bowden


Solstice comes from the Latin word solstitium which means “point at which the sun seems to stand still.”