95 votes
Accepted

Is there a relationship between the words "night" and "eight"?

No, they are unrelated. Some Proto-Indo-European language (PIE) reconstructions from Wiktionary: "eight": "oḱtṓw" (claimed to be a dual of "four fingers") "night&...
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  • 836
76 votes
Accepted

Is "tag" named for "touch and go"?

No, but the association between "tag" and "touch and go" is more than 100 years old. See the 1912 printing of the song A GAME OF TAG: playing tag, Touch and go And in the 1902 ...
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  • 96.5k
59 votes

Is there a relationship between the words "night" and "eight"?

In English "eight" and "night" came from different words, "ehte" and "niht" respectively, which have both undergone a common substitution of -gh- for a hard "h", which was a Middle English scribal ...
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47 votes
Accepted

Was the phrase "hello" popularized because of the name of Alexander Graham Bell's wife/girlfriend "Margaret Hello"?

No. Thomas Edison is in fact credited with the first use of the word Hello on the telephone, and the etymology of the word is well documented. Furthermore, Graham Bell was engaged to Mabel Gardiner ...
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  • 1,354
19 votes
Accepted

Does the word "butterfly" stem from an erroneous transcription of "flutterby"?

Flutterby was (or is) used by children as an expression for butterfly. Dialect Notes, Volume 4 was published by American Dialect Society in 1917. It mentions: Some instances of the transposition ...
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  • 29.8k
18 votes

Was the word 'racist' coined by Trotsky in 1927?

According to NPR's Codeswitch, the term racism meaning "discrimination or prejudice based on race", was used before 1927. The term as used in the picture you show seems to have a different ...
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  • 521
17 votes
Accepted

Is the use of X for unknown quantities taken from the Arabic word "shay"?

Most likely no. X is one of many symbols used for unknowns throughout the history of mathematics, and comes from a notation in the 1600's that used several other letters alongside X. Some Arab ...
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  • 11.4k
13 votes
Accepted

Did Marx use the word "capitalism"?

It is quite absurd to claim that Marx did not know that word. Although, in his most important writings the exact letter sequence is indeed not recorded. For example: It is not in the German version of ...
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11 votes

Does the word "butterfly" stem from an erroneous transcription of "flutterby"?

To show flutterby is the origin of butterfly, it would need to precede it in time. With the OED pointing to Old English versions of butterfly, and Shakespeare using it several times, perhaps best ...
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  • 13.3k
10 votes

Is "tag" named for "touch and go"?

Created an account just to answer this question. Whilst 'tango' does indeed mean touch, I don't think this is the true origin. It only takes 5 minutes to Google (and/or a knowledge of British 'tag' ...
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  • 101
8 votes

Was the word 'racist' coined by Trotsky in 1927?

We find the adjective racist penned by Gaston Mery in the November 18, 1897 issue of La Libre Parole "It is time, in popular meetings, that truly French - truly racist- voices oppose their eloquence ...
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  • 96.5k
8 votes

Was the word 'racist' coined by Trotsky in 1927?

Although he did not coin it, he may have popularized it afterwards. Trotksy published What is National Socialism in June 1933. I have made racism bold The theory of race, specially created, it ...
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8 votes

Does the word "butterfly" stem from an erroneous transcription of "flutterby"?

In "The Earliest English Texts", which "is intended to include all the Old-English texts up to about 900": The words for butterfly are buturfliogo buterflege buturfliogae So it is clear that "...
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  • 96.5k
7 votes

Is Nazi a diminutive of Ignatius?

Yes and no. Nazi can be and was a diminutive form of the name Ignatius. In Bavaria and Austria is is no longer that popular in this form now. To name a quite prominent example: Johann Nepomuk Eduard ...
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7 votes
Accepted

Was the term "goosebumps" ever used to refer to venereal sores?

Yes. From: Frédéric Buret: "Syphilis to-day and among the ancients, Vol 2-3 – Syphilis in the Middle Ages & Syphilis in Modern Times", Philadelphia: F. A. Davis, 1895, p.48: The second proof ...
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5 votes

Was "Yankee" originally a derisive term for smugglers?

It's not as certain as Pete's answer makes it. Wikipedia's take, just on the Dutch angle: Most linguists look to Dutch language sources, noting the extensive interaction between the Dutch colonists ...
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  • 49.3k
4 votes
Accepted

Do Muslims call an inner layer of a hijab a "ninja"?

Partial answer: Addresses use of "ninja", doesn't address etymology. Several hijab stores refer to a part of the hijab as a ninja, without any sign of being ironic in nature. The page https://www....
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  • 38.4k
4 votes

Was the word 'racist' coined by Trotsky in 1927?

The meme as displayed is anachronistic, ahistorical and a complete confabulation of terms and meanings. It makes really no direct sense whatsoever. But as a symptom to be used as a diagnostic marker ...
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4 votes

Was the living room called the "death room" around World War I? If so, by whom?

The 1990 book Sleeping Beauty: Memorial Photography in America says: To remove the stigma of death from the home this "death room" became a "living room" by simple decree by the ...
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  • 96.5k
4 votes

Was "Yankee" originally a derisive term for smugglers?

The claim being made is basically false because the etymology of yankee is not certain to anyone. These are the three strongest arguments I see: 1/3: It originated from an unknown African language, ...
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  • 38.4k
3 votes

Did Marx use the word "capitalism"?

LаngLаngС found that: "Kapitalismus" does not appear in the German version of Das Kapital Bd. I. It does appear in Das Kapital Bd. II published from Marx's notes after Marx's death. It does appear in ...
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  • 38.4k
1 vote

Was "Yankee" originally a derisive term for smugglers?

From Etymology Online : Yankee (n.) 1683, a name applied disparagingly by Dutch settlers in New Amsterdam (New York) to English colonists in neighboring Connecticut. ... Originally it seems to have ...
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  • 260
1 vote

Did Marx use the word "capitalism"?

I had a look at the etymology of capitalism and, according to Wikipedia: The initial usage of the term capitalism in its modern sense has been attributed to Louis Blanc in 1850 and Pierre-Joseph ...
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