Origin and First Use of Words in English
I've always wondered where some of the words in the English language came from. Where did the word 'bomb' originate from? How about 'jukebox?' I've always thought that some of the words used in the English language were just randomly made up, and even though that is mostly true, there had to be some time when the words were first used! When, where, why, how, and who used 'bomb' for the first time? Do any other words have interesting origins as well? Find out here!
Bomb - This word nowadays has so many uses. It can be used as a noun to describe an explosive device, or it can be used to describe a person "That guy... He's the bomb!" It can be even used as a verb that means to blow something up or even to describe how you flunked a test. But where did this word come from, and why? It turns out it was actually first used by a critic to describe a horrible play in New York during the 1920s. The term, first used by Grevile Corks, became so popular that he started the Bomb of the Year Award for the worst plays in Broadway.
Jukebox - Who cares about this word anyway? Well normally you wouldn't care about this word unless you understood how it first came to be. In New Orleans, juke is slang for having sex. Jukebox got its name because they were popular in prostitution houses called Juke Joints.
Robot - The word Robot comes from the word Robot, which is a Czech word that means "worker." In 1923, a Czech science fiction writer, Carl Kapek, first popularized the word when he wrote a book in which the machines have taken over the world. In his book, the machines have implanted circuits in humans, turning them into mindless "robots."
Science - Science in the past was considered as a type of knowledge that was related to philosophy. From early 1200s to the 1840s science was referred to as Natural Philosophy. It wasn't until the 1840s that people started using the word Science, derived from the latin word scientia. Even then, science and philosophy were used interchangeably. It wasn't until later that the use of the word science and the use of the word philosophy became different.
Haywire - In farms and ranches, the farmers would wrap bales of hay around with tightly strung wires in order to for them to be more easily stored and transfered. In some occasions, the wire would snap, whipping out wildly and injuring anyone nearby.
Slush fund - Sailors originally used the word "Slush" for the name of the kitchen grease found in the galleys of the ships. The slush was collected and most of it was used to lubricate the masts and other parts of the ship, the rest of the slush was sold with other garbage when the ship entered port. The money made from selling the garbage was called the "slush fund," which was used on buying more useful items.
Broke - The origin of this word is interesting, as it is a word used to describe someone that has no money. Before there were credit cards, banks in Europe would issue porcelain "burrower's tiles" that was used to borrow money. They were tiles that had the name of the borrower, his credit limit and the name or logo of the bank. Whenever a person wanted to borrow money, he would show the bank his tile and if the borrower was past his credit limit, the teller "broke" his tile on the spot.
Woman or Wife - These words have a funny origin. They originally came from the two Anglo-Saxon words "wifan" and "mann" which meant "weaver" and "human." Combined, they make wifmann, which means Weaver-Human. So the word Wife comes from a word that meant Weaver, and the word Woman comes from Weaver-Human. Women, I guess, didn't do much back then but weave things all day. You can make jokes on this all day.
Husband - Comes from the German words "Hus" and "Bunda" meaning "House" and "Owner." I guess men didn't do much back then but own houses all day, still, that definitely beats weaving all day.
Written by: PeonHero on 2/26/11