Archive for Etymology

soccer

I wasn't planning to run an item today, it being my birthday, but then I learned my favorite bit of etymology in ages: It turns out that "soccer" was originally...

widdershins

I had always assumed that "widdershins" derived somehow from "widow shins," though I was never quite sure what that had to do with anything (something about witches and shinbones, no...

mile

Somehow it never occurred to me before (unless I've forgotten) to wonder about the etymology of the word "mile." In Adam Roberts's novel On, there's a moment when a character...

dum-dum

I've known the term "dum-dum," referring to a particular kind of ammunition, for years, but it was only just now that I found out where the word comes from: the...