History That Never Was

Home of Dawn Vogel: Writer, Historian, Geek

Fun for Friday: The Canons of Etymology

| July 19, 2019

When you run across a word that’s really interesting, but you can’t find anything about its etymology, what do you do? Check out these seven canons of etymology for some ideas on how to approach it! While the internet provides etymologies for plenty of words, sometimes it’s fun to try to sort one out yourself, […]

Fun for Friday: Etymologies of Food, Beverages, and Pants

| June 7, 2019

So many English words are derived from words from other languages. Things like cappuccino make sense–we know that’s an Italian word when we see it. But jeans? You’d think that’s one of the most quintessentially American words there is. Guess again. It’s Italian too! This article gives the etymologies of eight words, some of which […]

Fun for Friday: Seattle Etymology

| May 3, 2019

The Etymology Nerd is a fantastic site for those of us who love etymology and infographics! Here, you can find a BUNCH of etymology infographics, with a focus on place names in cities. But there are plenty of other etymology infographics too, dealing with a wide variety of topics. I particularly like this infographic with […]

Fun for Friday: Etymology of the Day

| April 5, 2019

If you’re a fan of etymology, check out Mashed Radish’s etymology of the day! Though it doesn’t seem to have any recent updates, there are a ton of word origins explained, complete with fun pictures!  

Fun for Friday: Folk Etymologies

| February 22, 2019

Sometimes, where we think a word came from is not necessarily the true story. According to Merriam-Webster, folk etymology is “the transformation of words so as to give them an apparent relationship to better-known or better-understood words.” This article talks about a number of cases of folk etymology, including the source of the words and […]

Fun For Friday: Lots of Etymology!

| January 25, 2019

If you’re as fascinated by word origins as I am, you might like this list: Etymologically Speaking. It’s one of the more extensive lists I’ve found for word origins, plus it also does some cool things with looking at the same word in several languages, showing how those words wound up similar or very different! […]

Fun for Friday: Color Etymology

| January 11, 2019

Why doesn’t anything rhyme with purple? Or orange? It might have to do with the origins of those words. This article on Gizmodo talks about the etymology of colors, or how they got their English names. But did you know that not all languages have words for every color? And there’s also the belief that […]

Fun for Friday: Band Name Origins

| November 2, 2018

If you’ve ever wondered how famous bands got their name, look no further! Wikipedia has you covered with this list of band name etymologies! It’s interesting to see the prevalence of names that come from dreams and also from Tolkien. Take a look through and see if your favorites are mentioned!

Fun for Friday: Interesting Facts about English

| June 15, 2018

Grammarly has a neat little article including ten interesting facts about the English language, which you can read here. In it, you can learn all about pangrams, ambigrams, and ghost words! The most fascinating fact to me is the last one, which states that the word “girl” did not originally mean a female child, but […]

Fun for Friday: More Interesting Etymologies

| February 9, 2018

I’m always interested in linguistics and etymologies. Here’s an article from a few years back where the Oxford Royale Academy has named 14 words with the most fascinating word origins in the English language.