As a writer and someone who actively uses words as my building blocks, I am always fascinated by the origin of words. Today on the A to Z Blog Challenge I take a quick look at my love of Etymology – the study of words and their history and origins.
Discovering at an early age that words had origins and sometimes their own secret history was unlocking a whole new layer of language for me. It was the equivalent of being given a decoder ring or some X-Ray specs that allowed me to see things normal people didn’t notice.
Learning that words like sabotage may have derived from 15th century workers using their wooden shoes, known as sabots, to damage industrial looms introduced me to a mini-history lesson in the making.
It also opened my eyes to how culture and time periods shape words and how phrases and expressions can enter the common usage. It always amazes me the number of nautical expressions that have entered the common usage – from expressions like “the bitter end” to “three sheets to the wind” .
I love gathering books on words origins, phrases, and also even place names.
Here’s some great titles I have in my library on the subject::
- Why Do We Say it? The Stories Behind the Words, Expressions and Cliches We Use
- From Achilles’ Heel to Zeus’ Shield by Dale Corey Dibbley
- Idiom Savant: Slang as It is Slung by Jerry Dunn
- Off the Clock: A Lexicon of Time Words and Expressions by Kimberly Olson Fakih