Archive for Etymology

piggy bank

If you search the web to determine the etymology of the phrase piggy bank, you'll quickly conclude that there is little disagreement over its origin. Many web pages give the...

muggy

Mary Anne noted in passing recently that it was muggy in Chicago, and I realized that though I've known the word all my life, I didn't know where it came...

boson

I've known the word boson for years, but I don't think I knew until recently that it's named after Indian physicist Satyendranath Bose (also written “Satyendra Nath Bose”), as in...

warfarin

I've known for a while that there's an anticoagulant named warfarin, but it never occurred to me to look up its etymology; I always just assumed it had something to...

fifth column

I always wondered vaguely about the origin of the term "fifth column," but never got around to looking it up 'til now. Turns out (according to the abovelinked Wikipedia article)...