Some Crazy Etymology

It’s important to know where a word derives from, so that we can use it with ease and with full clarity that we are using it correctly. The fact of the matter is, people take words in the English language, misrepresent and misconstrue them in such a way that we feel our language is being outwardly destroyed. Or perhaps, people don’t understand words in the English language, then proceed to throw a fit because being “ignorant” (obviously) has connotations of stupidity instead of misinformity, if that is even a word.

Villains are also your average commoner. (photo by HarshLight)

Villains are also your average commoner. (photo by HarshLight)

Here are some words that we use everyday with odd back stories that will make you think again as you use them in your day-to-day life.

#1. Villain

Having the root of the word as “villa” means one thing and one thing only: country house. Turns out villains have not always been villains – villains have, in fact, been simply household servants, or poor peoples. The word was rarely ever used by poor people themselves; instead, it was the upper class, pish-posh educated peoples who would talk down to these servants.

#2. O.M.G

Perhaps this isn’t a real word, but it’s got a surprising history nonetheless. As it turns out, the first to use O.M.G was not your average mall-rat teenage girls who are texting one another even though they are sitting right next to each other – but it was actually coined by an Admiral, who was, at the time, seventy-five years old. The term was created in 1917 – which makes sense considering naval communication was mainly through morse code.

#3. Boobies

Much of society has put these bad boys on a pedestal. And why of course? Well, in the States, they are held up as one of the most sexually arousing body parts. (Some countries don’t even regard it as an object of sex at all!) But did you know that it originally meant a “stupid or childish person,” which possibly derives from the Spanish word “bobo?” Yeah, I didn’t either.

#4. Seminar

Classrooms often use seminars as a means to openly discuss (and take note of who and who does not understand the material) major works, as well as projects or ideas. It’s basically open mic – without the mic. Regardless, seminars were not the same drab classroom activity that they are today. Accordingly, seminar comes from the Latin term “Semenis,” which means semen. Basically, seminars were named for the “creation of thought” or “ejaculation of idea.”

#5. Writing on the Wall

Nope, turns out this phrase isn’t just the title of an Underoath song. Turns out, it means a lot religiously (which makes sense because Underoath, believe it or not, has Christian roots,) as in the book of Daniel, Belshazzar loved to sin and sin and sin, and he did well! Accordingly, a hand appeared out of nowhere are began to write on the wall. No one understood how to scribe it, so Daniel was brought in to translate for them. He basically told them how pissed God was at them, and in that night, Belshazzar was killed and Persia took over his kingdom. Moral of the story? Writing on the Wall basically means foreseeable tragedy.


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