- Posted by Stephen Whiteley
- On 15/10/2012
- English, etymology, Latin, words
Today, some unexpected etymologies.
All of the following words have become so deeply embedded in English that I, for one, would never have imagined they were borrowings from sundry other languages.
Slogan – from the Celtic slaugh and gheun, battle and cry respectively.
Charlatan – from the Spanish charlar, to chat.
Hazard – from the Arabic al zahr, the dice.
Shampoo – from the Hindi cāṁpō, imperative of cāṁpnā, to press, via Anglo-India shampoo, to massage.
Malaria – from the medieval Italian mal (bad) and aria (air): it was thought that it was the quality of the air in swamps, rather than mosquitos, which caused this disease.
Wiki – Originally an abbreviation of WikiWikiWeb, software developed by American computer programmer Howard G. Cunningham: from the Hawaiian wikiwiki, quick, and web.
And, by way of bonus, two words from Latin and Greek, with rather unexpected origins:
Addict – the name given to slaves who were awarded to Roman soldiers for performance in battle.
Bulimia – from the Greek bous meaning ox and limos meaning hunger.