Special Report

You Might be Surprised by the Origins of These Common English Words

Well, “comrade,” I bet you always thought that word comes from Russian. Not so. Although the term was often associated with communism in Western culture during the last century, Communists of the Soviet Revolution used the Russian translation of “comrade” – “tovarisch.” The word “comrade” actually comes from Latin “camara,” in its earliest iteration meaning “vaulted room,” which evolved in European languages over time to mean someone who shares that room, hence a close companion.

Of course, it is not surprising that many English words have their origin in Latin or Greek or other European languages. Even then, however, given that language is constantly evolving, the original meaning of some words is often far different from their current meaning (“surprise” itself has an interesting origin; see below). Speaking of Latin, here are Latin phrases everyone should know.

Europeans also sailed across the globe, expanding to the new continent and other remote reaches, and bringing new ideas, foods, deities, and concepts back to the European continent and on to England. Today, these words are so entrenched in English that it’s interesting to learn where they actually come from. (Here are 30 everyday English words you didn”t know came from Arabic.)

Click here to be surprised by the origins of some common English words

To find common words with surprising origins, 24/7 Tempo reviewed several sources, including from Readable, EF Education, Medium, ELT Learning Journeys, and Good Housekeeping. We checked the word origins against dictionaries such as Merriam-Webster and the Oxford English Dictionary.

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