Archive

What does ‘quid pro quo’ mean?

Latin is a famously dead language, but it was busy enough while it was alive that echoes of it can still be heard in the modern world. One particular Latin phrase has been front and centre in the news recently as the impeachment enquiry into the activities of President Trump… Read More

Etymology Corner – Collins Word of the Year 2018

It’s the most wonderful time of the year once again, Collins Dictionary have announced the 2018 Word of the Year shortlist. Our lexicographers monitor the 4.5 billion-word Collins Corpus and create the annual list of new and notable words that reflect an ever-evolving culture and the preoccupations of those who… Read More

The etymology behind 4 eggs-ellent Springtime words

With the wreckage of many chocolate eggs behind us and some spring weather finally on the horizon, you might wonder where this tradition of sharing brightly wrapped sweet treats and talking about giant benevolent bunnies comes from? We’ve explored the diverse etymology of 4 eggs-ellent words associated with spring. Read More

Etymology Corner – Collins Word of the Year 2017

Collins Language has announced the 2017 Word of the Year shortlist, identifying ten words that had emerged or come to prominence during the course of the year. Here we trace the often shadowy origins of five of the words and show how they rose to become prominent in news, politics,… Read More

Ghosts gather here! The etymological history of Halloween

As leaves start to fall and the world develops a sepia tint, so begins autumn – a mystical time of year, with Halloween historically believed to mark the turning point of summer into colder months. This spooky season we’ve compiled a list of traditional Halloween words and phrases to examine… Read More

‘Wights’, ‘maesters’ & more: The etymology of Game Of Thrones

Winter is finally here. As our favourite characters are pitted head-to-head in the latest season, we decided to explore the etymology behind Game Of Thrones’ most popular words and phrases. Hand of the King ‘What the king dreams, the Hand builds’ – Eddard Stark We’ve had a few Hands of… Read More