Sunday Facts: Weird Histories Behind Top-10 English Words

English language is full of idioms, abbreviations, stupefying, formidable and distressing words and synonyms. It is also a combination of several languages. One of most open language accepting other words and synonyms. English is one of the most Intriguing language as well. Here are 10 English words with weird meanings:

1 |  Lesbian English words

The word “lesbian” describes women who love other women is described from the Greek Island of Lesbos. Around 600 BC, a poet named Sappho lived on this island. Most of her poetry has been lost to time, but we have collected fragments of her works from other writers who quoted her in their works.

Most of her writings depicted the love of one women for other. she may have been married and had a daughter. But it is difficult to piece together the snippets that exist about Sappho.

2 |  Assassin

English words
Credits: medium.com

An “assassin” is a person who commits murder for money or a fanatical reason, such as political ideology. The history of this word stretches back to the Crusades.

At that time, a sect called the Nizari Ismaili operated out of Lebanon. They were fanatical Muslims answering to a leader known as the “Old Man of the Mountains.”

3 | Walrus

English words
Credits: Oceanwide expedition

“walrus” was derived from hrossvalir, an Old Norse word that translates to “horse-whale.” The whale part makes sense because walruses are also massive and have flippers. But the horse part is confusing.

All we really know is that someone long ago probably looked at a massive mustachioed creature with giant tusks and thought the best comparison to a land animal was a horse.

4 | Quarantine

English words
Credits: Ohio State University

“Quarantine” is derived from the Italian word quarantino (“40-day period”). Back when the plague was spreading across Europe, Venetian policies dictated that incoming ships from affected countries could not enter the ports until 40 days had passed.

This was meant to ensure that no cases of plague were brought into the country.

5 | Nimrod

English words
Credits: The Dot and Line

“Nimrod” is often used as an insult for someone who is clumsy or foolish, but this word originally had a very different meaning. Nimrod is the name of the great-grandson of Noah in the Bible, and he was said to be a mighty hunter.

This word only came to be associated with clumsiness and foolishness in the 1980s, and the reasons for this are debatable.

6 | Muscle

English words
Credits: Coach mag.

The word “muscle” is derived from the Latin word musculus (“little mouse”).

The reason for this odd connection between muscles and mice is all about appearances. Our ancient ancestors simply thought that a flexed bicep looked a lot like a tiny mouse was moving under a person’s skin.

7 | Cancer

English words
Credits: Allure

The word “cancer” is derived from the Latin word meaning “crab.” The Cancer astrology sign is based on a constellation that is supposed to look like a crab, though it really looks more like an upside-down Y in the sky.

Greek mythology, Heracles crushed a giant enemy crab under his foot during a battle with Hydra.

8 | Malaria

English words
Credits: News Medical

Malaria is a disease spread by mosquitoes and characterized by recurring fevers, anemia, and jaundice. However, the history behind the name of this disease comes from a misunderstanding about its cause.

According to this theory, decaying materials gave off a toxic vapor that caused illnesses like malaria and cholera.

9 | Tragedy

English words
Credits: Denver Post

The ancient Greeks certainly did, and this is why “tragedy” is derived from the Greek words tragos and oidos, meaning “goat song.”

Some confusion surrounds the exact origins of this word. But the connection to goats seems to arise from plays involving satyrs, nature spirits that combine human and goat or horse features.

10 | Candidate

English words
Credits: dictionary. Com

This term originates from the Latin word candidus (“pure white”). Funnily enough, this word is also the basis for the English word Candida, which is a persistent type of fungus that can be difficult to eliminate.

This is likely because the fungus itself is white and can overgrow on the tongue, forming white patches called thrush.

Read also: Top 10 All Time Favourite Cartoon Characters