Etymology of common English words
Start writing a post
Arts Entertainment

Etymology Of Words We Use Every Day

Perhaps words are translated because a better one cannot be created

287
Etymology Of Words We Use Every Day

Do you ever wonder about the history of the words you use everyday? Or you say a certain word too many times and you think, "why is this even a word?" Etymology is the study of the origin of words and how their meanings have changed over time. While I could not find exactly why the words were made up, I found the origin language in which they were born and decided to share on the useless but interesting trivia.

'Okay'

Giphy

"OK' was originated in the mid 19th century in the United States. The intials are most likely derived from 'orl korrect' which is a humorous version of "all correct". The term "all correct" became popularized during President Van Burren's re-election. His nickname being 'Old Kinderhook' provided the initials which was then used as wordplay for his re-election thus, the birth of "OK"

Lavatory/ Bathroom

Giphy

Deriving from the Latin language is "lavare" meaning 'to wash' then to late Latin meaning 'place for washing'. The word orginally mean something in which to wash, like a bath. Then, during the 17th century, lavatory began to mean 'a room with washing facilities'.

The word 'bathroom' was born in the 20th century which was actually used as a euphemism for a lavatory. 'To go to the bathroom' is a euphemism for 'to relieve oneself.'

Vacation

Giphy

Derived from the Latin word "vacare" which is translated to "vacate" in English. The simple meaning of vacare is to be unoccupied.

Store

Giphy

Store derived from the Latin word 'instaurare' which evolved to the old French word 'estorer' which now translates to 'store' in English. The original meaning of this word is renew.

Mirror

Originated in Latin meaning 'look at' then to the old French word 'mirour'. An early meaning of this word is 'a person deserving imitation'.

Gas

Giphy

Originated in Greek meaning 'chaos'. This word was invented by J. B. Van Helmont, a Belgian chemist, when attempting to denote the principle or state in which he believed to exist in all matter.

School

Giphy

The word 'school' originated in the Greek language in which 'skhole' means 'leisure,philosophy, lecture place'.

Check/ Bill

Giphy

In Middle English, this word was originally used in a game of chess. It originated in Persian, then to Medieval Latin, to Old French. The verb 'eschequier' in Old French means 'play chess, put in check'. The connotation of 'stop' or 'control' derived from the use in chess and in the late 17th century led to the connotation of 'examine the accuracy of'.

The word bill derived from Medieval Latin word 'bulla' which is translated to 'seal or sealed document'.

Animal

'Animal' derived from the Latin word 'anima' which is translated to 'breath' then evolved to the Latin word 'animalis' which means 'having breath'. The original definition of 'animal' is 'having breath'.

Flashlight

Giphy

The flashlight was invented in the United States by a British inventor named David Misell in 1899. However, the word flash-light originated in 1886 and means 'on and off signal of light' as used by a light house. Originally, literally meant flashes of light which was used as a signal. In the 1890's the term was used for a camera's flash.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
the beatles
Wikipedia Commons

For as long as I can remember, I have been listening to The Beatles. Every year, my mom would appropriately blast “Birthday” on anyone’s birthday. I knew all of the words to “Back In The U.S.S.R” by the time I was 5 (Even though I had no idea what or where the U.S.S.R was). I grew up with John, Paul, George, and Ringo instead Justin, JC, Joey, Chris and Lance (I had to google N*SYNC to remember their names). The highlight of my short life was Paul McCartney in concert twice. I’m not someone to “fangirl” but those days I fangirled hard. The music of The Beatles has gotten me through everything. Their songs have brought me more joy, peace, and comfort. I can listen to them in any situation and find what I need. Here are the best lyrics from The Beatles for every and any occasion.

Keep Reading...Show less
Being Invisible The Best Super Power

The best superpower ever? Being invisible of course. Imagine just being able to go from seen to unseen on a dime. Who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to be invisible? Superman and Batman have nothing on being invisible with their superhero abilities. Here are some things that you could do while being invisible, because being invisible can benefit your social life too.

Keep Reading...Show less
Featured

19 Lessons I'll Never Forget from Growing Up In a Small Town

There have been many lessons learned.

52027
houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee
nappy.co

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

123254
college students waiting in a long line in the hallway
StableDiffusion

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments