25 Common Words With Really Bizarre Origins

Posted by , Updated on March 7, 2017

Whether you are a linguist or just somebody who is interested in finding out where the words we use everyday came from, this list is for you. Some of the most common words in our vocabulary have the coolest histories. These are 25 Common Words With Really Bizarre Origins!



canadaSource: wiktionary, Image: pixabay.com (public domain)

In native languages, the name “Canada” means “our village.” It was chosen to honor the country’s indigenous heritage.



fireSource: wiktionary

This word is actually derived from “inflammable” which means “able to be inflamed.” Makers of warning labels were afraid that people would think “inflammable” meant “not flammable” so they shortened the word to “flammable.” They both mean the same thing.



goatSource: wiktionary, Image: pixabay.com (public domain)

If you break it down, it pretty much amounts to “goat song.” The Greek word for goat is “tragos” and the word for song is “oide.” “Ode” also comes from this root.



dogSource: wiktionary, Image: pixabay.com (public domain)

We aren’t actually sure where this word came from. The Proto-Germanic word was “hundaz” from which German and the Scandinavian languages all derive “hund.” Most romance languages derived their terms from the Latin “canis” (french: chien, portuguese: cachorro). To make things even stranger, there is a completely unrelated Australian aborigine language called “Mbabaram” which is famous among linguists because its word for “dog” is also “dog,” pronounced almost exactly the same as in English.



mountainSource: wiktionary, Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mount_Talinis_(Cuernos_de_Negros),_Negros_Oriental,_Philippines_01.JPG

This word referring to a place in the middle of nowhere comes from the colonization of the Philippines. It is derived from the Tagalog word for mountain – Bundok.

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