5 Words With Nifty Etymologies

We say these words everyday but have you ever stopped to think about their origins? You have? No you haven’t. Liar. Below are five super common words we use all the time that have pretty darn nifty origins. Enjoy! 

This post was submitted by an anonymous contributor. Sorry, I can’t take credit for this one.

“Clue” – This word came about as a misspelling of “clew”, an old English word that meant “ball of thread”. What does a “ball of thread” have to do with clues or hints? In an ancient Greek myth, the hero Theseus used a ball of thread to find his way out of a giant maze. Just like that ball of thread, a “clue” is something that helps you find the solution to a problem.
“Loophole” – Back in Medieval times, archers would shoot at enemies through slits in the castle walls. The walls would protect the archers, but the slits allowed their arrows to fly through. These slits were called “loopholes”. Today, a “loophole” has the same general meaning: something that lets you slip through a barrier.
“Daisy” – This flower’s name comes from the phrase “day’s eye”. Daisies are called day’s eyes because they open during the day and close at night. Isn’t that sweet?
“Escape” – “Escape” literally means “out of cape”. It refers to the ancient Romans, who wore capes much more casually than we do today. If somebody was chasing you, you could get away if they grabbed your cape instead. You would “escape” them, but lose your cape (be “out of your cape”) in the process!
“Genuine” – “Genuine” comes from the Latin word “genu”, which means “knee”. Back in Roman times, a father would acknowledge that he was the true father of a newborn son by placing him on his knee. Thus, “genuine” came to mean “real” or “true”.






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