Thursday, February 27, 2014

What I Learned: Etymology

I have been listening to Don't Know Much About History while doing my long runs lately, and there have been a few interesting tidbits that I have learned from it. Actually, there have been a lot of different things I have learned, relearned or remembered, and of course they are all very interesting and very educational and I can just feel myself getting smarter by the day.

However, there were a few interesting factoids that I had no idea about, and actually never thought to question them! For example, do you know where the word "sideburns" comes from?

Sideburns were first called "Burnsides", after a civil war general named Ambrose Burnside, who, as you can see below, had a pretty nice display of facial hair.

source

I also found out why "booze" is so named. It's from the Dutch word būsen, which means "to drink to excess". However, DKMAH states that it was given it's name due to a man named E. C. Booz, who was a distiller in the United States in the 19th century.

Do you know the game "rock, paper, scissors"? Do you ever call it Ro-Sham-Bo? We do. However, I never knew that there was a man named Rochambeau who was a French nobleman who participated in the revolutionary war. 

Do you ever wonder where certain words came from? Or why some things are called different words, even throughout the US? My mom's family is from Back East and they have some weird words for things, as well as pronounciations.

For instance:

Bubbler / drinking fountain
Pocketbook / purse
Cabinets / cupboard

Or there is always the coke, pop, soda debate. 



Why is that? And what do YOU call it?

What information have you learned lately that made you say "hmm"? What weird words do your friends and relatives say that make you giggle? Did you know where the word sideburns originated?