Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Medieval soldiers wore 'bras'

As I said earlier in my post "Burying your past", I was poring over my old books when I came across a booklet, "What's In A Word?" by John Kahn. It traces the etymology of some common words whose meanings have undergone mutations. Some of the words I found interesting:

Alchoholic drink is forbidden under strict Islamic law, but ironically, the word can be traced to its Arabic origin: al-kohl, the name of a black powder used as a beauty aid to stain the eye-lids. By the process of sublimation, solid is converted in converted into vapour by heating, then resolidified by cooling. Alcohol was produced in the same way.

The original assassins were members of an Islamic sect which considered the murder its enemies as a religious duty. It is believed that its members took hashish or cannabis to increase their courage. The word is derived from Arabic: hashshashin, 'hashish eaters'.

The word originated from Italian 'banca' which means a bench or table.

Brassiere or bra is derived from the Greek word for 'arm' and the old French word for 'arm' is 'bras', and 'braciere' is used to refer to the armour protecting the arm. In modern French, the word became brassiere or bras to mean undergarment supporting a woman's breasts.

The coffee that has become fashionable among the urban well-to-do youths of Malaysia, originally referred to the Italian Cappuchin friar or priest - cappuccino.

It goes back through old French to the Latin word, 'follis' which means 'a bellows' or windbag.

It goes back to the Greek word gumnazein, meaning to train in the nude. The ancient Greek gymnasts and sportsmen trained and competed in the nude.

Originally referred to tiny mice. It came from French through Latin 'musculus' which means 'a little mouse'. It is possible that certain muscles of the body are shaped like a mouse and hence, muscle.


From two Chinese words 'dyfung' or 'dafeng' meaning 'great wind".


Light Amplification by Simulated Emission of Radiation

From Radio Detection And Ranging

1 comment:

  1. Gostei muito desse post e seu blog é muito interessante, vou passar por aqui sempre =) Depois dá uma passada lá no meu site, que é sobre o CresceNet, espero que goste. O endereço dele é http://www.provedorcrescenet.com . Um abraço.