Where Did These English Words Originate?


Over the centuries, English has been influenced by hundreds of other cultures and languages. Originally, it was considered a Germanic language, closely related to German and Dutch, but English has expanded. Norse and Gaelic words were incorporated as nations invaded England. Many Greek, French, and Latin terms became part of everyday English, as well. Even today, new words are added to the dictionary every year, from countless sources. In fact, English is such a large language that no one really knows how many words there are. Some estimates put the number at around a million. Most people know where words such as karaoke, mafia, and siesta come from. But what about moped, slogan, penguin? How much do you really know about the origins of the English language?


Quiz WriterJoselyn

Joselyn wasn’t too keen on multiple choice in high school. She vividly remembers the first biology exam she passed by only the skin of her teeth, which dragged her overall average down into the embarrassingly low 90s (she doesn’t want to talk about it). After swearing off any high school or university courses that required multiple choice tests, Joselyn managed to get an English degree by sweet-talking her professors into offering only essay-style exams. Needless to say, this did not exactly endear her to her peers. This rocky start smoothed out in time, though, and after tumbling down a black quiz hole one day while putting off job hunting, Joselyn realized her hatred of all things a-b-or-c had faded and she actually enjoyed dreaming up new ideas for questions and dangerously correct-sounding answers. You won’t find her quizzes an easy ride, but Joselyn just wants to make sure you’re really testing your knowledge.

Did you know?

Fun English Facts

The word "bookkeeper" is the only unhyphenated word in the English language that has three sets of double letters, one after the other! The letter "s" is the most common first letter. Surely something sinister started such stuff! "I am." is the shortest complete sentence in the English language. The sentence "He believed Caesar could see people seizing the seas" contains all seven ways to spell the sound "ee." Every two hours, a new word is added to the dictionary.

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