Archive for Etymology

TASER

According to a variety of sources, the word "TASER" was coined as an acronym for "Thomas A. Swift's Electric Rifle." Apparently the Taser's inventor was a fan of the Tom...

janitor

Everyone knows that "January" derives from the name of Janus, the Roman god of doors and beginnings and endings. But what I didn't know until a couple weeks ago is...

solstice

Somehow it hadn't occurred to me 'til just now to wonder about the etymology of the word "solstice." The first part is obviously "sol," sun. Turns out the second part...

sahib

I recently read a submitted story in which someone who seemed to be from Africa used the word "sahib." "That's not right," I said to myself; "there's another word like...

grog

Sarah told me she was groggy this afternoon, and I asked "From too much grog?" and the ensuing discussion led me to realize I didn't know where the word "grog"...