Archive

We take a look at the etymology behind the word ‘July’ #pinchpunch

July The names we use for the months of the year are taken from their ancient Roman titles. The Roman calendar originally started in March, which explains why the names of September, October, November, and December come from the Latin words for ‘seven’, ‘eight’, ‘nine’, and ‘ten’ – even though… Read More

We take a look at the etymology behind the word ‘poll’

People across Britain recently went to the polls in local elections, which raises the question, why do we talk about ‘polls’ and ‘polling stations’ in the context of voting. The word ‘poll’ is of Germanic origin, and first occurs in English in the 13th century, when it meant ‘a head’. Read More

Etymology Corner – Shakespeare the Wordmaker

Shakespeare the Wordmaker It is a remarkable fact that the works of William Shakespeare include more 2000 words that are not recorded in any earlier author. It is likely that some of these words were not actually invented by Shakespeare, but had been used earlier in spoken language or by… Read More

Did we give up new words with the wine this dry January?

This year’s Dry January was not just the annual abstention from alcohol (to counteract excess drinking over the festive season – copyrighted by Alcohol Concern in 2014). It was also pretty dry in terms of new words. Though there was certainly no shortage of notable news items, they tended to… Read More