May 2009 Archives

Periodically while studying some aspect or other of linguistics, I come across factoids regarding the etymology of a word or phrase. While they're not usually of any great significance, I think they're fascinating.

The word 'cattle' comes from the Old French chattels referring to all things a person owns.

'Spree' comes from a Scottish word meaning "cattle raid".

'Eulogy' originated in Ancient Greek. The original meaning was 'good word'.

The Gaelic word for 'war cry' was 'slogan'.

During a British military operation in India, the city of Sind was under siege. A message was sent from headquarters to the general leading the attack asking how the battle was going. His response was a single Latin word; Peccavi. The translation is "I have sinned".

If you've got any you'd like to share, be all means do so.

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