Word Origins

What Is The Origin Of The Word "Silhouette"?

A silhouette is ‘the dark shape and outline or someone against a brighter background’, but did you know that it’s named after a person? Find out who, and why.

What Is The Origin Of The Word "Snob"?

Nobody likes a snob (do they?) – but before you accuse somebody of being one, take a look at various ingenious theories about the origin of the word.

What Is The Origin Of The Word "World"?

What do the terms 'world' and 'werewolf' have in common? We investigate the origin of the word 'world'.

What Is The Origin Of The Word "Ye"?

‘Ye’ is in carols (O Come All Ye Faithful) and old-fashioned shop names (Ye Olde Sweete Shoppe) – but where does ‘ye’ come from, and how was it pronounced?

What Is The Origin Of The Word "Zombie"?

Zombies (corpses brought back to life) are staple features in the horror genre, whether book, TV, or movie – but what is the origin of the word ‘zombie’?

What Is The Origin Of "Love" In Tennis?

‘Love’ is used to mean ‘nothing’ , when scoring in tennis, but where does this romantic notion come from – and does it have anything to do with eggs?

What's The Origin Of The Phrase "To Have An Albatross Around Your Neck"?

‘To have an albatross around one’s neck’ is to a heavy and inescapable burden or responsibility – but what is the origin of this unusual phrase?

What’s The Origin Of The Word "Soccer"?

Football in the UK is soccer in the US, but did you know that the word soccer actually originated in England? Find out more about the word’s origins.

Why Is The Day After Thanksgiving Called "Black Friday"?

The day after Thanksgiving is known as ‘Black Friday’ in North America, and the term is in increasing use around the world – but where does the name come from?