Words we vocalize every day seem ordinary and familiar to us. We even get the feeling that, for instance, the word “chauffeur” existed forever. There is only this slight nuance: cars themselves re a little over hundred years old… Hence, things aren’t that simple when it comes to our day-to-day vocabulary. Well then, why not recollect interesting stories of other words origin?
Let’s probably start with already familiar “chauffeur”. This is a French lexical unit, except, for a long time it had nothing to do with means of transport. Its literal translation is “stoker”. So, how are drivers connected to stokers? The case is that a steam station, that had to be fired up from time to time, served as an engine for first automobiles. It was only after that when “chauffeurs” we’re already familiar to with emerged.
“Idiot” is an international word. But it didn’t acquire its insulting sense at once. In Ancient Greece, for instance, it was the word for people who avoided political discussions. Who cares, one might ask? Yet, eventually, those who felt no concern for social life got suspected in deliberate silence since the matter of politics was perhaps the most topical issue in Hellas of the time. This is how the word got negative tone. Sort of, you don’t talk about politics – you are an idiot! It is as simple as that.
Recently the word “geek” became very popular. This is how either people almost obsessed with something or modern technologies enthusiasts are called. And despite utterly obvious contemporary connotations, the word itself originated from American travelling circuses. Performers who bit off living chickens’ heads to swallow them before the eyes of the audience were called this way. It was presumably an exclamation that followed the trick that gave the name to modern enthusiasts. Thanks God, nowadays geeks are mostly fond of computers and a monitor, as it is commonly known, is hard to swallow.
There was a time when warm balaklava hats were in trend in England. Probably, many people noticed similarity between the piece of clothing and the toponym. Connection here is direct, indeed. The weird “name” emerged in 19th century. Then, during Crimean War, British military men managed to get frozen even on a warm peninsular. Therefore they started sewing themselves warm headwear. Warm insomuch that only cutouts for eyes and mouth were left. Why, and they decided not to think too long about the name.
The word “Bohemia” also has interesting origins. In 15th – 16th century within the territory of present-day land of Bohemia in Czech Republic there were a lot of gypsies. In time, they moved to France. But they never abandoned their way of life. It was all about revelry, festivities and parties. Often Romae pursued art and as most artists acted eccentrically. Frenchmen, knowing where the water-head was, nicknamed them “Bohemia” by the name of their home land. Later on the word grew past its gypsy subtext.
When you get down to it, every word’s origin has a background of numerous interesting stories. Needless to say that they gather legends and tales like a snowball. This is why, having studied abovementioned examples, we tried to be as accurate as possible. All in all, in the age of technologies development access to encyclopedias and reference books is a little more than simple. Which means everyone who is willing can at least once try and fancy him or herself to be a serious researcher and have a deeper look at words origins. And this is a very engrossing engagement, trust me.
Illustrations by Alexandr Zadnepryanii, specially for OUTLOOK
Thanks to the Embassy of Uzbekistan in Ukraine and personally Ambassador extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Alisher Abdualiev OUTLOOK was lucky enough to visit this hospitable country. And today we will tell about a unique place - the Mausoleum of the prominent military leader and political figure of Amir Temur.
It is said, the easier it is, the better we feel, however, is it always like that? We know that not all the nations follow this principle. Outlook has found out the strangest, toughest and hard in articulation international languages and would like to share it with the readers.
"A small territory with a great mission" is the motto under which on February 11, 1929 Lateran Treaty between the Kingdom of Italy and the Holy See recognized Vatican as a sovereign territory. It was an agreement which opened doors for curious patrons who for centuries had been trading gossip about "What is kept inside Vatican castles?". Evil tongues grumbled that the walled enclave protected magic books of how to seize the world, the castle’s cellars hide torture chambers for sinners, and after liturgies alchemists are busy inventing the Philosopher's Stone. But when museums welcomed visitors, both guests and the Romans gasped with delight. Collectors estimated that the cost of all the works of art featured by almost the smallest country in the world, is 150 times more than the world's GDP.
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First exhibition of paintings in the world’s most visited museum the Louvre was opened on 1793. But its building was well-known far beyond France, though the edifice was not used with such lofty cultural purposes.
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For more than 50 years a World Day of Twin Cities falls on the last Sunday of April. The beginning of the World War II is considered to be a starting point of town-twinning. Enthusiasts from Coventry – a major industrial centre of England which survived intense bombing by the Nazis – sent to the Soviet Stalingrad, the city of the same level of industrial development and population, letter supporting confrontation to Hitler. In return they got a warm and appreciative response.
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Every year over 4 thousand movies are released. In India alone a couple of locally produced films come out daily. And as far back as some hundred years ago all of this didn’t exist. It was only in 1896 when viewers saw the famous “Train Pulling into a Station” by Lumière brothers for the first time.