An article on the origins of some of the words we use on an almost daily basis.
There are many words most of us use on an almost daily basis yet I wonder how often do we stop to ask where these words come from? In asking this I am referring to the roots from where these words sprung from that in fact may even have historical connections which may teach us more that just something about a word we already know. It is in this article that I have chosen four words which in my opinion have stories behind them that can make us see something that goes beyond the meaning of a word.
The first word I have chosen to explain the roots of is “sincere”. It mean something which is honest and true yet the origin of this word in a way comes from dishonesty. It being back in the days of ancient Rome where some who dealt in marvel columns were manufacturing this most exclusive item with wax inside which of course one could not see given it was hidden by the exterior which needless to say was marvel.
As is the case however with most deceptions, many caught on to the fact that a lot of the columns they were purchasing; believing them to be solid marvel were anything but that therefore making them wonder if this was the case. It was with this in mind and not wanting to be associated with those who cheated that many Roman makers of marvel columns started to use the words “sin cera” whenever they had a customer interested in their merchandise. “Sin cera” being Latin for “without wax”. This meaning that the product they were selling was 100% marvel with nothing fake or phony about it. As with most words this one eventually came to be used in other contents that had nothing to do with its original roots of wax. It being a case that anybody who wanted to declare that what they were offering or selling was honest and not laced with what be not true started using the expression “without wax”.
Another word I have chosen to explain the roots of is “sabotage”. It meaning when somebody or a group of people do something to make a plan or something not work, for instance one can sabotage a company if one is a worker or manager in it so it might not profit. This being how most would define this word yet its origins go back to the first industrial revolution when factory workers; fearful that machinery might replace them started putting their shoes in to them so they would not function. These shoes which I refer to that were worn by those factory workers were known as “sabos” and thus giving origin to the word sabotage. Of course now a days one is not required to wear these shoes or even put them in any piece of machinery to commit the act of sabotage.
Confetti is something which is often used not only in parties but parades. It consisting of pieces of paper which are cut in to very small bits than thrown in to the air in celebration of an event. As might be the case with a victory in sports or war or New Year’s eve yet the origins of the word come from something that in fact could not have been further from a commemoration. It being many years ago that in the United States a civil war was fought between the United States Of America and the Confederate States of America; these being the states in the south of the United States. It being the later of these two who fought for the right to form an independent nation. The Confederate States of America would go on to loose the war yet before doing so they took several steps toward independence. One of them being to form their own army and another being to print their own money which become known as the Confederate dollar.
Naturally after having lost the war and with the government that printed these dollars no longer having any power or gold to lend value to this currency; it became completely worthless. As how could one spend money that was printed by a government that had never really even been in power and had just been dissolved. It being this factor that made confederate dollars literally not even be worth the paper they were printed on and by virtue of which led many to tear it up in to very small pieces yet not in celebration but most likely in frustration at how their currency was worthless. All of which making it clear that the word confetti derives from the confederate dollars which after the civil war had become completely useless; apart from the purpose of doing what many eventually did which was to cut them up in to tiny pieces that ended up being thrown in to the air.
When we hear the word “Slav” we probably think of people who come from eastern Europe. For instance Russia or Poland or Slovakia and in this we would be right. As they are the group of people who in Europe are called Slavs with even their languages being referred to as Slavic yet the origins of this word come from the word “slave”. This being the case that the peoples who inhabited the areas of the above mentioned countries and others in the general area; dealt heavily in slavery even more so than western European countries.
I have always enjoyed history as a subject that allows us to learn so much more than just events from our past but one that permits us to understand even a great deal of the present and it was with this in mind that I choose to explain these particular words which in a sense open up so much more. This being the case for they let us see events of the past and how they perhaps in small way affect our present though sometimes in a large way. This given how they explain how current situations; both political and financial came about. In conclusion I would like to say that perhaps if we look back to the past we will find a lot of the answers to the problems and confrontations that even till this very day surround us.