We’ve been running our Weird Word Origin of the Week updates for a while now, and we hope you’ve enjoyed reading them as much as we have writing them.
As copywriters, we tend to take words pretty seriously; after all, words are at the heart of our industry. We use words to communicate, convert, call attention and call to action, and as we so often remind our clients, words are much more than marks on a page or screen. Words are like people; they are born, live and can certainly die, and many have their own exciting, if sometimes mind-boggling, mysteries, humour and history.
- The word ‘clue’ comes to us as a figurative allusion to the ‘clew’, or ball of thread, Theseus used to find his way from the Minotaur’s labyrinth in Greek myth
- In the 16th century, ‘bully’ was an endearing replacement for sweetheart, based on the Dutch boel meaning ‘lover and brother’
- Duct tape was once ‘duck tape’, named for cotton duck, the material from which it was first made.
Maybe we’re exposing just what word-nerds we are — in case you hadn’t noticed, at Rocksalt, we love words —but we believe words aren’t just to be used, but also appreciated, and WWOW is one of the ways we hope to share that passion with you. Another is our #wordlove campaign, and we’ve been very gratified to see we’re not alone in our lust for language.
Whether you’re a hardcore etymologist, a fancier of philology or just looking for some easy dinner-party conversation starters, check us out each Sunday for another Weird Word Origin of the Week.