The Origins of 10 Words & Phrases


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12 comments

  • Pretty good list. I must protest the use of “Revelations” for the Book of Revelation. The book title is singular.

  • “lego” in Latin doesn’t mean that. It means “to read”. To be precise, “lego” means “I read” but you name verbs using this tense. This is where the Spanish verb “leer”, for instance, comes from (the Latin infinitive is “legere”).

    • Daven Hiskey

      @Someone: Yes it does mean “read”, but it also means “to gather/collect”, as I stated. In addition to that, it also means “to choose” and “to pass through”. (I knew those two years of Latin in college would payoff someday) ;-)

  • “Amen” comes from the hebrew root alef-mem-nun. the Hebrew verb “lehaamin” means “to believe”. The imperative form is “haamen” = Believe it! or Trust it!

  • Larynx, not larnyx.

  • The Hebrew version of the word amen was written backwards by the way. Hebrew is written from right to left.

  • The Hebrew word, amen, doesn’t merely mean “So be it” or “So it may be,” but is said responsively by the congregation after the person saying the prayer to affirm the prayer. It is an error for someone to say “Amen” after their own prayer.

    Also, the term “horse opera” came before “soap opera.” The latter term was most likely derived from the former. William S Hart used “horse opera” as early as 1927 to deride the later Westerns, especially the ones with singing cowboys. “Soap opera” came later — as much as 12 years later according to http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=soap+opera&allowed_in_frame=0 — deriding the cliches in the radio shows sponsored by soap companies. “Painted Dreams,” considered the first daytime soap opera, first aired in October 1930, three years after the first documented use of “horse opera.” If one wants to call “The Goldbergs” the first, it started in 1929, still two years after Hart’s first documented use of “horse opera.”

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