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What does the noun essay mean?

There are 12 meanings listed in OED's entry for the noun essay , nine of which are labelled obsolete. See ‘Meaning & use’ for definitions, usage, and quotation evidence.

essay has developed meanings and uses in subjects including

Entry status

OED is undergoing a continuous programme of revision to modernize and improve definitions. This entry has not yet been fully revised.

How common is the noun essay ?

How is the noun essay pronounced?

British english, u.s. english, where does the noun essay come from.

Earliest known use

The earliest known use of the noun essay is in the late 1500s.

OED's earliest evidence for essay is from 1597, in the writing of Francis Bacon, lord chancellor, politician, and philosopher.

It is also recorded as a verb from the Middle English period (1150—1500).

essay is a borrowing from French.

Etymons: French essai .

Nearby entries

  • esrache, v. 1477
  • esraj, n. 1921–
  • ESRO, n. 1961–
  • ess, n. 1540–
  • -ess, suffix¹
  • -ess, suffix²
  • essamplerie, n. 1393
  • essart, n. 1656–
  • essart, v. 1675–
  • essarting, n. a1821–
  • essay, n. 1597–
  • essay, v. 1483–
  • essayal, n. 1837–
  • essayer, n. 1611–
  • essayette, n. 1877–
  • essayfy, v. 1815–
  • essay-hatch, n. 1721–
  • essayical, adj. 1860–
  • essaying, n. 1861–
  • essaying, adj. 1641–
  • essayish, adj. 1863–

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Meaning & use

Pronunciation, compounds & derived words, entry history for essay, n..

essay, n. was first published in 1891; not yet revised.

essay, n. was last modified in June 2024.

Revision of the OED is a long-term project. Entries in oed.com which have not been revised may include:

  • corrections and revisions to definitions, pronunciation, etymology, headwords, variant spellings, quotations, and dates;
  • new senses, phrases, and quotations which have been added in subsequent print and online updates.

Revisions and additions of this kind were last incorporated into essay, n. in June 2024.

Earlier versions of this entry were published in:

OED First Edition (1891)

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OED Second Edition (1989)

  • View essay, n. in OED Second Edition

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Citation details

Factsheet for essay, n., browse entry.

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where did the word essay originate from

Students in every country, at all levels of education from the lower echelons of high school to post graduate and research schools are well practised in the writing of essays. These days, essays come in many different formats and structures; from a book review to a comparison essay to an argumentative essay to a dissertation and everything in between. In today’s education system, we often take for granted the fact that the essay is one of the main forms of assignments. We accept the challenge and complete them without ever thinking about the origins of the format. If you are interested in where the essay actually began and who was the first to bring the assignment format into existence, then read on for a brief history of the essay.

The word “essay” was first used by a Frenchman

It is generally accepted that the Frenchman Michel de Montaigne, born in 1533, was the first author to describe his works of writing as essays. Back then, essay was a term that he used to characterise the way that he would attempt to put his various thoughts into writing. From this description, it is easy to see how this attempt to arrange thoughts on a page could turn into the type of essay that we are familiar with today. Eager to share his new form of writing with the world, in 1580, Montaigne compiled his essays into a published collection entitled Essais.  He achieved great success with this, and for the rest of his life, he spent time revising and publishing previously written essays, as well as composing new ones.

Francis Bacon is considered the first English language essayist

In terms of the English language, Francis Bacon’s essays, published in the form of books in 1597, 1612 and 1625, were the first works of English to be officially described as essays. Interestingly, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first use of the word ‘essayist’ was recorded by playwright Ben Jonson in 1609.

Asia wrote essays before Europeans

Of course, as with most of recorded history, the claim for the invention of the essay is much older in Asia than it is in Europe. Much like the novel, which was being cultivated in places like Japan much earlier than in England and Europe, essays existed and were known as zuihitsu, a word meaning fragmented ideas. A word somewhat incongruous to the aim of an essay which attempts to bring order to thoughts and ideas. Notable examples of this early form of essay include The Pillow Book court lady SeiShonagon from 1000 A.D. and 1330’s Tsurezuregusa by the famous Buddhist monk Yoshida Kenko. Kenko spoke of his essay writings in a very similar way to Michel de Montaigne, classing them as nonsensical thoughts that were written during idle hours. One more interesting thing to note is that in a stark difference from the overwhelming patriarchy in writing in Europe, Japan was filled with female writers who enjoyed creating essays. However, this rich history of female Asian work has been somewhat erased by Chinese-influenced writing by male writers who were much more revered at the time.

From random to ordered

Though the origins of the essay are very much rooted in authors assembling ‘varied thoughts’ and ‘fragmented ideas’ on the page, over time the essay has become a much more official and rigid form of writing, constructed for students and academics to be able to argue, explain or explore a topic in a defined and recognised fashion. Here is a brief list of some of the most popular essay forms today:

  • Cause and Effect – an essay that is used to argue causal chains that connect a cause to a direct effect.
  • Compare and Contrast – an essay that is used to identify and evaluate the differences between two ideas, objects or concepts e.g. chalk and cheese, Hitler and Stalin, Pride and Prejudice and Emma
  • Descriptive –an essay that required writing that is characterised by all of the sensory details such as sight, smell, sound, touch. Generally intended to appeal to a reader’s emotional response.
  • Argumentative – an essay in which the author takes a stand on one side of an argument, and works to build a case around why exactly their view point is the most persuasive.
  • Reflective – an analytical essay in which the author describes a scene, either real or imagined in as rich detail as possible, with an eye on surmising a learning experience.

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Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History Essays

The origins of writing.

Proto-Cuneiform tablet with seal impressions: administrative account of barley distribution with cylinder seal impression of a male figure, hunting dogs, and boars

Proto-Cuneiform tablet with seal impressions: administrative account of barley distribution with cylinder seal impression of a male figure, hunting dogs, and boars

Cuneiform tablet: administrative account with entries concerning malt and barley groats

Cuneiform tablet: administrative account with entries concerning malt and barley groats

Cylinder seal and modern impression: three

Cylinder seal and modern impression: three "pigtailed ladies" with double-handled vessels

Ira Spar Department of Ancient Near Eastern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

October 2004

The alluvial plains of southern Mesopotamia in the later half of the fourth millennium B.C. witnessed a immense expansion in the number of populated sites. Scholars still debate the reasons for this population increase, which seems too large to be explained simply by normal growth. One site, the city of Uruk , surpassed all others as an urban center surrounded by a group of secondary settlements. It covered approximately 250 hectares, or .96 square miles, and has been called “the first city in world history.” The site was dominated by large temple estates whose need for accounting and disbursing of revenues led to the recording of economic data on clay tablets. The city was ruled by a man depicted in art with many religious functions. He is often called a “ priest-king .” Underneath this office was a stratified society in which certain professions were held in high esteem. One of the earliest written texts from Uruk provides a list of 120 officials including the leader of the city, leader of the law, leader of the plow, and leader of the lambs, as well as specialist terms for priests, metalworkers, potters, and others.

Many other urban sites existed in southern Mesopotamia in close proximity to Uruk. To the east of southern Mesopotamia lay a region located below the Zagros Mountains called by modern scholars Susiana. The name reflects the civilization centered around the site of Susa. There temples were built and clay tablets, dating to about 100 years after the earliest tablets from Uruk, were inscribed with numerals and word-signs. Examples of Uruk-type pottery are found in Susiana as well as in other sites in the Zagros mountain region and in northern and central Iran, attesting to the important influence of Uruk upon writing and material culture. Uruk culture also spread into Syria and southern Turkey, where Uruk-style buildings were constructed in urban settlements.

Recent archaeological research indicates that the origin and spread of writing may be more complex than previously thought. Complex state systems with proto-cuneiform writing on clay and wood may have existed in Syria and Turkey as early as the mid-fourth millennium B.C. If further excavations in these areas confirm this assumption, then writing on clay tablets found at Uruk would constitute only a single phase of the early development of writing. The Uruk archives may reflect a later period when writing “took off” as the need for more permanent accounting practices became evident with the rapid growth of large cities with mixed populations at the end of the fourth millennium B.C. Clay became the preferred medium for recording bureaucratic items as it was abundant, cheap, and durable in comparison to other mediums. Initially, a reed or stick was used to draw pictographs and abstract signs into moistened clay. Some of the earliest pictographs are easily recognizable and decipherable, but most are of an abstract nature and cannot be identified with any known object. Over time, pictographic representation was replaced with wedge-shaped signs, formed by impressing the tip of a reed or wood stylus into the surface of a clay tablet. Modern (nineteenth-century) scholars called this type of writing cuneiform after the Latin term for wedge, cuneus .

Today, about 6,000 proto-cuneiform tablets, with more than 38,000 lines of text, are now known from areas associated with the Uruk culture, while only a few earlier examples are extant. The most popular but not universally accepted theory identifies the Uruk tablets with the Sumerians, a population group that spoke an agglutinative language related to no known linguistic group.

Some of the earliest signs inscribed on the tablets picture rations that needed to be counted, such as grain, fish, and various types of animals. These pictographs could be read in any number of languages much as international road signs can easily be interpreted by drivers from many nations. Personal names, titles of officials, verbal elements, and abstract ideas were difficult to interpret when written with pictorial or abstract signs. A major advance was made when a sign no longer just represented its intended meaning, but also a sound or group of sounds. To use a modern example, a picture of an “eye” could represent both an “eye” and the pronoun “I.” An image of a tin can indicates both an object and the concept “can,” that is, the ability to accomplish a goal. A drawing of a reed can represent both a plant and the verbal element “read.” When taken together, the statement “I can read” can be indicated by picture writing in which each picture represents a sound or another word different from an object with the same or similar sound.

This new way of interpreting signs is called the rebus principle. Only a few examples of its use exist in the earliest stages of cuneiform from between 3200 and 3000 B.C. The consistent use of this type of phonetic writing only becomes apparent after 2600 B.C. It constitutes the beginning of a true writing system characterized by a complex combination of word-signs and phonograms—signs for vowels and syllables—that allowed the scribe to express ideas. By the middle of the third millennium B.C. , cuneiform primarily written on clay tablets was used for a vast array of economic, religious, political, literary, and scholarly documents.

Spar, Ira. “The Origins of Writing.” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History . New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/wrtg/hd_wrtg.htm (October 2004)

Further Reading

Glassner, Jean-Jacques. The Invention of Cuneiform Writing in Sumer . Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003.

Houston, Stephen D. The First Writing: Script Invention as History and Process . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

Nissen, Hans J. "The Archaic Texts from Uruk." World Archaeology 17 (1986), pp. 317–34. n/a: n/a, n/a.

Nissen, Hans J., Peter Damerow, and Robert K. Englund. Archaic Bookkeeping: Early Writing and Techniques of Economic Administration in the Ancient Near East . Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993.

Walker, C. B. F. Cuneiform . Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987.

Additional Essays by Ira Spar

  • Spar, Ira. “ Mesopotamian Creation Myths .” (April 2009)
  • Spar, Ira. “ Flood Stories .” (April 2009)
  • Spar, Ira. “ Gilgamesh .” (April 2009)
  • Spar, Ira. “ Mesopotamian Deities .” (April 2009)
  • Spar, Ira. “ The Gods and Goddesses of Canaan .” (April 2009)

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The Etymology of Words and Their Surprising Histories

The Surprising Origins of Everyday Words

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The etymology of a word refers to its origin and historical development: that is, its earliest known use, its transmission from one language to another, and its changes in form and meaning . Etymology is also the term for the branch of linguistics that studies word histories.

What's the Difference Between a Definition and an Etymology?

A definition tells us what a word means and how it's used in our own time. An etymology tells us where a word came from (often, but not always, from another language) and what it used to mean.

For example, according to The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language , the definition of the word disaster is "an occurrence causing widespread destruction and distress; a catastrophe" or "a grave misfortune." But the etymology of the word disaster takes us back to a time when people commonly blamed great misfortunes on the influence of the stars.

Disaster first appeared in English in the late 16th century, just in time for Shakespeare to use the word in the play King Lear . It arrived by way of the Old Italian word disastro , which meant "unfavorable to one's stars."

This older, astrological sense of disaster becomes easier to understand when we study its Latin root word , astrum , which also appears in our modern "star" word astronomy . With the negative Latin prefix dis- ("apart") added to astrum ("star"), the word (in Latin, Old Italian, and Middle French) conveyed the idea that a catastrophe could be traced to the "evil influence of a star or planet" (a definition that the dictionary tells us is now " obsolete ").

Is the Etymology of a Word Its True Definition?

Not at all, though people sometimes try to make this argument. The word etymology is derived from the Greek word etymon , which means "the true sense of a word." But in fact the original meaning of a word is often different from its contemporary definition.

The meanings of many words have changed over time, and older senses of a word may grow uncommon or disappear entirely from everyday use. Disaster , for instance, no longer means the "evil influence of a star or planet," just as consider no longer means "to observe the stars."

Let's look at another example. Our English word salary is defined by The American Heritage Dictionary  as "fixed compensation for services, paid to a person on a regular basis." Its etymology can be traced back 2,000 years to sal , the Latin word for salt. So what's the connection between salt and salary?

The Roman historian Pliny the Elder tells us that "in Rome, a soldier was paid in salt," which back then was widely used as a food preservative. Eventually, this salarium came to signify a stipend paid in any form, usually money. Even today the expression "worth your salt" indicates that you're working hard and earning your salary. However, this doesn't mean that salt is the true definition of salary .

Where Do Words Come From?

New words have entered (and continue to enter) the English language in many different ways. Here are some of the most common methods.

  • Borrowing The majority of the words used in modern English have been borrowed from other languages. Although most of our vocabulary comes from Latin and Greek (often by way of other European languages), English has borrowed words from more than 300 different languages around the world. Here are just a few examples: futon (from the Japanese word for "bedclothes, bedding")
  • hamster (Middle High German hamastra )
  • kangaroo (Aboriginal language of Guugu Yimidhirr, gangurru , referring to a species of kangaroo)
  • kink (Dutch, "twist in a rope")
  • moccasin (Native American Indian, Virginia Algonquian, akin to Powhatan mäkäsn and Ojibwa makisin )
  • molasses (Portuguese melaços , from Late Latin mellceum , from Latin mel , "honey")
  • muscle (Latin musculus , "mouse")
  • slogan (alteration of Scots slogorne , "battle cry")
  • smorgasbord (Swedish, literally "bread and butter table")
  • whiskey (Old Irish uisce , "water," and bethad , "of life")
  • Clipping or Shortening Some new words are simply shortened forms of existing words, for instance indie from independent ; exam from examination ; flu from influenza , and fax from facsimile .
  • Compounding A new word may also be created by combining two or more existing words: fire engine , for example, and babysitter .
  • Blends A blend, also called a portmanteau word , is a word formed by merging the sounds and meanings of two or more other words. Examples include moped , from mo(tor) + ped(al), and brunch , from br(eakfast) + (l)unch.
  • Conversion or Functional Shift New words are often formed by changing an existing word from one part of speech to another. For example, innovations in technology have encouraged the transformation of the nouns network , Google , and  microwave  into verbs.
  • Transfer of Proper Nouns Sometimes the names of people, places, and things become generalized vocabulary words. For instance, the noun maverick was derived from the name of an American cattleman, Samuel Augustus Maverick. The saxophone was named after Sax , the surname of a 19th-century Belgian family that made musical instruments.
  • Neologisms or Creative Coinages Now and then, new products or processes inspire the creation of entirely new words. Such neologisms are usually short lived, never even making it into a dictionary. Nevertheless, some have endured, for example quark (coined by novelist James Joyce), galumph (Lewis Carroll), aspirin (originally a trademark ), grok (Robert A. Heinlein).
  • Imitation of Sounds Words are also created by onomatopoeia, naming things by imitating the sounds that are associated with them: boo, bow-wow, tinkle, click .

Why Should We Care About Word Histories?

If a word's etymology is not the same as its definition, why should we care at all about word histories? Well, for one thing, understanding how words have developed can teach us a great deal about our cultural history. In addition, studying the histories of familiar words can help us deduce the meanings of unfamiliar words, thereby enriching our vocabularies. Finally, word stories are often both entertaining and thought provoking. In short, as any youngster can tell you, words are fun .

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The History of Essay: Origin and Evolvement

These days, an essay is one of the key assignments at college. This particular task allows tutors to evaluate the student’s knowledge effectively. But it was not always a key assessment tool in the education sphere. So, when did an essay become so important for study purposes? And who invented the essay? According to Aldous Huxley, this particular literary piece can be used to describe almost everything. Essays have become very popular since the first day this type of paper was introduced. What is more, the first time the essay appeared in the far 16th century, it was a part of a self-portrayal done by Michel de Montaigne. The term essay was adopted from French “essayer”, which was adopted from Latin “exagere”. The last one means “to sort through”. In the far 16th century, the essay was mostly a form of a literary piece. Afterward, it has gained wider use in literature and study. It lost all its formality and has become quite a popular writing form. Besides, it has turned into quite a complicated study assignment. That is why many modern students need help writing an essay these days.

where did the word essay originate from

Difference Between Essay and Article

In contrast to an article that mostly has an informative purpose, an essay is more a literary paper. The “essay” concept can refer to practically any short piece of report or small composition. It can be a short story, some critical piece, etc. The essay differs from an article or other kinds of papers. Many prominent features distinguish essays from research papers, case studies, or reports. The essay paper has a standard structure in most cases. Sometimes, the layout can be a little bit creative. An article provides information on a certain topic. It has a mostly informative character and does not tend to deliver solutions or recommendations. Besides, it lacks a strict formatting style and outline. Still, it mostly refers to modern academic essays. In old times, essays had no defined format or structure. The origin of the essay does not affect its current usage. Now, it is an effective educational tool and one of the top college projects. Academic essays have an assigned structure and formatting style. You cannot ignore the provided requirements if you want to have a good grade. There are many strict rules to essays assigned at college. Students often check long tutorials to learn how to prepare a proper essay

Types of Essays and Its Characteristics

In the history of the essay, there were always different types of essays. First and foremost, essays were divided into formal and informal. Next, impersonal and familiar. Formal essays are mostly focused on the described topic. Informal essays are more personal and focused on the essayist.

Academic essays differ greatly with their wide variety of types and formats. You can count descriptive, argumentative, reflective, analytical, persuasive, narrative, expository essays’ types. The key types of academic essays include analytical, descriptive, persuasive, and critical.

Every of the mentioned types has its own essay format. They also differ by structure, length, main points to analyze, and purposes. In old times, writers were mostly concerned by the personal or impersonal tone of written composition. It takes more effort to learn all the types of academic essays these days. Besides, they all have a different focus and the final goal.

The most popular narrative essay is quite familiar to the one it was just a few centuries ago. In this paper, you tell the story and focus on a single idea. Such papers like argumentative or analytical essays are more like research papers. They require a thesis statement, strong arguments, and supporting evidence. You have to conduct research work. It is way more difficult than to tell a simple story. Still, even storytelling requires natural talents and a clever mind to be appreciated by readers.     

where did the word essay originate from

Essay Evolvement and Modern Use

The essay history describes the way the traditional essay was turned into a decent educational tool. First, the essay was a typical literary form of expression. Authors were mostly concerned to share their point of view about some ideas or themselves in the composition. It gained more personal coloring than any other paper in years.

Since being parted from a self-portrayal, this particular piece was mostly essayist-focused originally. Afterward, once the essay writers have figured out it can describe particularly everything, an essay has gained wider use. Not every modern essay writer knows how the term “essay” was created. Still, modern writers face even bigger challenges with these particular kinds of written papers.

The key reasons include a set of strict rules and requirements for academic essays. They force writers to come up only with the most interesting and unique ideas. Also, they make writers prepare papers formatted due to an assigned formatting style only. Besides, many types of essays require strong analytical abilities.

An analytical essay is like a research paper. It also requires all the elements of a research piece. Thus, the ability to conduct proper research work and provide a complex analysis is mandatory for a modern author as well.

Final Thoughts

Preparing an essay can take a lot of time and great effort these days. With lots of complex requirements and difficult writing instructions, students often need outside writing essay help to succeed.

A modern essay differs greatly from the one it was in the far 16th century. In the first years, this particular writing form was introduced, it was a part of self-portrayal. In many following years, it turned into one of the most popular compositions and the top college assignment.

Nowadays, there is probably not a single student who has never dealt with an essay. Therefore, knowing how it was created and who introduced it to the world can be quite interesting and surely very informative for everyone. Knowing history helps to recognize yourself in the world better. Knowledge can always be quite a driving force for every person.

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An introduction to etymology: eight great word origins.

hand holds a cappuccino and ponders its etymology

Etymology is the study of the origin of words and how the meaning of words has changed over the course of history. Let’s get meta and take the word “etymology” as an example. “Etymology” derives from the Greek word etumos , meaning “true.” Etumologia was the study of words’ “true meanings.” This evolved into “etymology” by way of the Old French ethimologie . That’s all fairly straightforward, but there are many, many words in the English language that have unexpected and fascinating origins. Here are a few of our favorite examples.

1. Avocado (Origin: Nahuatl)

The word avocado comes from Spanish aguacate , which in turn comes from the Nahuatl ahuacatl , meaning testicle. Surprised? Perhaps, but the more one thinks about it, the less surprising it gets — they do rather resemble a man’s soft spot, and this resemblance becomes even more pronounced when you see avocado duos dangling clumsily from trees.

Nahuatl is the language of the Aztecs and is still spoken by approximately 1.5 million people native to Mexico and other parts of Central America. Avocado isn’t the only Nahuatl word that has been borrowed by the English language; chili, chocolate, tomato and guacamole were also coined by speakers of Nahuatl. Indeed, the -mole of guacamole is derived from the Nahuatl molli , which means sauce. It’s a good thing the origin of this word has been obfuscated on its way into the English language. Otherwise, guacamole ( Nahuatl: ahuacamolli) probably wouldn’t be as popular as it is.

where did the word essay originate from

2. Cappuccino (Origin: Italian/German)

Next time you’re trying to flirt with someone at your local coffee shop, impress them with this whimsical anecdote about the origin of the word cappuccino : it’s the diminutive form of the word cappuccio , which means “hood” in Italian. Wondering what the link is between a (little) hood and a cappuccino? One must look no further than the Capuchin Monks, whose hooded habits were a dark, oak brown similar to the color of a good cappuccino.

The first recorded use of the word was in 1790 in Vienna, Austria. Wilhelm Tissot jotted down a recipe for an exquisite Kapuzinerkaffee (lit. “Capuchin coffee”), which was rather different in constitution to its modern-day successor, containing sugar, cream and egg yolks. The current, somewhat simplified recipe now consists of espresso and foamed milk, but there are still parts of Austria where you can order a good ol’ Kapuziner .

monks drinking coffee to demonstrate the etymology of cappuccino

3. Disaster (Origin: Italian/Greek)

The word disaster has been passed around Europe like a hot potato. The English version is most closely tied to the French désastre , which is derived from the Old Italian disastro , itself derived from Greek. The pejorative prefix dis- and aster (star) can be interpreted as bad star , or an ill-starred event . The ancient Greeks were fascinated by astronomy and the cosmos, and believed wholly in the influence of celestial bodies on terrestrial life. For them, a disaster was a particular kind of calamity, the causes of which could be attributed to an unfavorable and uncontrollable alignment of planets. It’s therefore interesting to note that the strict, modern English definition of disaster explicitly stipulates that a disaster is human-made, or the consequence of human failure.

astronomers sad about the etymology of disaster

4. Handicap (Origin: English)

This word originates from the 17th-century English trading game “hand-in-cap.” The game involved two players and an arbitrator, or umpire. The players would present two possessions they would like to trade. The umpire would then decide whether the possessions were of equal value or not, and if they weren’t, would calculate the discrepancy. The owner of the lesser object would make up the difference with money, and then all three participants would place forfeit money into a hat. If the two players agreed with the umpire’s valuation, they would remove their hands from the hat with their palm open. If they disagreed, they would pull out their hands clenched in a fist. If both agreed or disagreed, the umpire would get the forfeit money, while if one agreed and the other didn’t, the player who approved the transaction would receive the forfeit money.

Over time, hand-in-cap came to be known as “handicap” and started to be used to refer to any kind of equalization or balancing of a contest or game. The word handicap is still used in many sports today, such as golf and horse racing. Indeed, horse racing was probably the first sport to introduce the term in order to define an umpire’s decision to add more weight to a horse so that it runs equally to its competitors. This notion of being burdened or put at a disadvantage was carried over to describe people with a disability in the early 20th century. By the mid-20th century, it was widely used, but it has since fallen out of the popular lexicon.

where did the word essay originate from

5. Jeans (Origin: Italian)

Although jeans are quintessentially American, and their invention is commonly attributed to Jacob W. Davis and Levi Strauss, the etymology of the popular garment is actually of European origin. The fabric Strauss used for his patented, mass-produced trousers was first produced in Genoa, Italy and Nimes, France. Why’s that significant? Well, the French word for Genoa is Gênes , and the name “jeans” is likely an anglicization of the material’s city of origin. Similarly, the word “denim” most likely comes from de Nimes , meaning “from Nimes” in French. Although we often talk about denim jeans nowadays, the two materials actually differed. Denim was coarser, more durable and of higher quality than the toughened cotton corduroy manufactured in Genoa. Workers in Northern Italy were sporting jeans as early as the 17th century, long before post-war American subcultures picked up on them as a fashion accessory.

a ship with sails made of jeans etymology

6. Salary (Origin: Latin)

The word “salary” comes from the Latin salarium , meaning “salt money.”

In ancient times, salt was used for many important things and was often referred to as “white gold.” It could be used as an antiseptic to treat wounds — In Romance languages one can recognize a connection between sal/sale , meaning “salt,” and salud/saude/salute , meaning “health”) — and to preserve food, and also as a method of payment in Greece and Rome.

As far back as the Egyptian Empire, laborers were paid with salt that they could use to preserve their food. The Roman Empire continued using this form of payment and it took on the name “salary” for “that which was given to workers at the end of the working month,” which adds a new dimension to the notion of a company’s solvency.

where did the word essay originate from

7. Trivial (Origin: Latin)

“Trivial” originates from the Latin word trivium , which was used to mean “a place where three roads meet” ( tri- meaning “three,” and -vium from via , meaning “road”). A trivium gained the connotation of being an open, public place — a mini agora — where people from across society’s technicolor spectrum could relax, chat and simply coexist. The adjective trivialis was a derivative of trivium and came to mean “vulgar, ordinary, of little importance, common and contemporary,” and the English adjective trivial carries much of this definition to this day: tired, ordinary, commonplace; of little use, import, consequence or significance.

where did the word essay originate from

8. Whiskey (Origin: Gaelic)

Medieval monks called it aqua vitae , meaning “life water.” The expression was transformed into uisce beatha when it was transferred to Gaelic. As time passed and the word was anglicized, uisce evolved into uige , usque , and then uisky , which bears an obvious and close resemblance to “whiskey.”

You may have noticed that you can spell the drink two different ways — “whiskey” and “whisky.” Some people believe the extra “e” was added to by Irish and American distilleries to differentiate their higher quality whiskeys during a period when Scottish whisky had a bad reputation.

Scotch was also introduced to denominate a Scottish whisky, and the word “whiskey” has been adopted in other countries for quite different reasons. In some South American countries, it’s used as an alternative to “cheese” to encourage people to smile when being photographed. How and why we chose “cheese,” and why the South Americans chose “whiskey” (and the Spanish patata , or “potato”) is a story for another time.

where did the word essay originate from

Why Study Etymology?

Etymology not only enhances your understanding of your native language but also gives you insights into its shared roots with other languages. Prior to reading this article, would you have thought that every time you say “avocado,” you’re prompting Moctezuma to chuckle in his tomb? Some word origins are wonderfully idiosyncratic and make for great anecdotes, while others demonstrate common standards and rules which help you assimilate new words and terms across languages.

Take the simple examples of the Latin prefixes con- (also “com-” in English) and dis- , which are widely used in Romance languages and indicate “togetherness” and “apartness,” respectively. Knowing such elements of etymology can vastly improve your guesswork when it comes to deciphering words, whether it be concatenate ( con – and -catenate , from catena , meaning “chain”; a verb meaning to chain together) or disconsolate ( dis- and con – and -solate , from solari , meaning “to comfort”; an adjective describing someone who can’t be comforted or consoled).

Want to explore further? We encourage you to put on your etymologist’s hat and venture into the jungle of meaning.

Illustrations by Raúl Soria


Democracy (ancient greece).

Democracy in ancient Greece served as one of the first forms of self-rule government in the ancient world. The system and ideas employed by the ancient Greeks had profound influences on how democracy developed, and its impact on the formation of the U.S. government.

Social Studies, Ancient Civilizations

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The ancient Greeks were the first to create a democracy . The word “ democracy ” comes from two Greek words that mean people ( demos ) and rule ( kratos ). Democracy is the idea that the citizens of a country should take an active role in the government of their country and manage it directly or through elected representatives . In addition, it supports the idea that the people can replace their government through peaceful transfers of power rather than violent uprising or revolution . Thus, a key part of democracy is that the people have a voice.

The first known democracy in the world was in Athens. Athenian democracy developed around the fifth century B.C.E. The Greek idea of democracy was different from present-day democracy because, in Athens, all adult citizens were required to take an active part in the government. If they did not fulfill their duty they would be fined and sometimes marked with red paint. The Athenian definition of “citizens” was also different from modern-day citizens: only free men were considered citizens in Athens. Women, children, and slaves were not considered citizens and therefore could not vote.

Each year 500 names were chosen from all the citizens of ancient Athens. Those 500 citizens had to actively serve in the government for one year. During that year, they were responsible for making new laws and controlled all parts of the political process. When a new law was proposed, all the citizens of Athens had the opportunity to vote on it. To vote, citizens had to attend the assembly on the day the vote took place. This form of government is called direct democracy.

The United States has a representative democracy. Representative democracy is a government in which citizens vote for representatives who create and change laws that govern the people rather than getting to vote directly on the laws themselves.

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Guest Essay

How the N-Word Became Unsayable

where did the word essay originate from

By John McWhorter

Dr. McWhorter is a linguist who has written extensively about both race and language. He is the author, most recently, of “Nine Nasty Words: English in the Gutter,” from which this guest essay is adapted.

This article contains obscenities and racial slurs, fully spelled out. Ezekiel Kweku, the Opinion politics editor, and Kathleen Kingsbury, the Opinion editor, wrote about how and why we came to the decision to publish these words in Friday’s edition of the Opinion Today newsletter .

In 1934, Allen Walker Read, an etymologist and lexicographer, laid out the history of the word that, then, had “the deepest stigma of any in the language.” In the entire article, in line with the strength of the taboo he was referring to, he never actually wrote the word itself. The obscenity to which he referred, “fuck,” though not used in polite company (or, typically, in this newspaper), is no longer verboten. These days, there are two other words that an American writer would treat as Mr. Read did. One is “cunt,” and the other is “nigger.” The latter, though, has become more than a slur. It has become taboo.

Just writing the word here, I sense myself as pushing the envelope, even though I am Black — and feel a need to state that for the sake of clarity and concision, I will be writing the word freely, rather than “the N-word.” I will not use the word gratuitously, but that will nevertheless leave a great many times I do spell it out, love it though I shall not.

“Nigger” began as a neutral descriptor, although it was quickly freighted with the casual contempt that Europeans had for African and, later, African-descended people. Its evolution from slur to unspeakable obscenity was part of a gradual prohibition on avowed racism and the slurring of groups. It is also part of a larger cultural shift: Time was that it was body parts and what they do that Americans were taught not to mention by name — do you actually do much resting in a restroom?

That kind of concern has been transferred from the sexual and scatological to the sociological, and changes in the use of the word “nigger” tell part of that story. What a society considers profane reveals what it believes to be sacrosanct: The emerging taboo on slurs reveals the value our culture places — if not consistently — on respect for subgroups of people. (I should also note that I am concerned here with “nigger” as a slur rather than its adoption, as “nigga,” as a term of affection by Black people, like “buddy.”)

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The birth of brunch: where did this meal come from anyway.

Jesse Rhodes

Once a week, an email chain of epic proportions germinates in my inbox: it's a regular call to brunch, followed by a scramble to figure out where we're eating, how many people are in so that reservations can be made, what time we're eating and whether or not bottomless mimosas are available. No mimosas usually means a change in venue, depending on who's in. And come Sunday morning there's a round of phone calls and text messages to rally the oversleeping, hung-over and/or otherwise indisposed members of the group. It's a complicated affair.

In anticipation of this Sunday, families all across the country will be be going head-t0-head, trying to beat each other out in securing brunch reservations at their favorite dining spots in order to celebrate Mother's Day. When did people start subjecting themselves to this delicious little slice of Sunday madness?

As is the case with many culinary traditions, the origins are a bit hazy. Some food historians think that the meal has its roots in England's hunt breakfasts—lavish multi-course meals that featured a smorgasbord of goodies such as chicken livers, eggs, meats, bacon, fresh fruit and sweets.  Others posit that Sunday brunch derives from the practice of Catholics fasting before mass and then sitting down for a large midday meal. And then there are those who  look to New York's abundance of dining spots when it comes to tracing the origins of classic brunch dishes from eggs Benedict to bagels and lox.

​ What does seem certain is that the word "brunch"—that playful blend of "breakfast" and "lunch"— first appeared in print in an 1895 Hunter's Weekly article. In "Brunch: A Plea," British author Guy Beringer suggested an alternative to the heavy, post-church Sunday meals in favor of lighter fare served late in the morning. ''Brunch is cheerful, sociable and inciting,'' Beringer says. ''It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.''

But wherever the initial spark of genius came from, the tradition definitely seems to have caught on in the United States in the 1930s, supposedly because Hollywood stars making transcontinental train trips frequently stopped off in Chicago to enjoy a late morning meal . It was a meal championed by hotels since most restaurants were closed on Sundays and, with church attendance flagging after World War II, people were looking for a new social outlet that also let them sleep in a bit. Restaurants soon hopped on the bandwagon and began offering the decadent spreads of food and signature morning cocktails, such as Bloody Marys, Bellinis and Mimosas.

"Sunday dinner became important because it was the only time people could eat together as a family unit during the week at the onset of urbanization and industrialization, 150 years ago," according to Stanford University professor Carl Degler in a 1980 Chicago Tribune article on the rise of America's brunch culture. He also pointed to another social change that might be responsible for why Sunday brunch became so popular here. "After World War II, large numbers of American married women entered the workforce for the first time. Married women needed a relief on Sunday, too, thus the rise in popularity of Sunday brunch eaten out."

Chefs, however, aren't a huge fan . After a busy Saturday night, trying to create a menu for a meal that stretches from 11 A.M. until 3 or 4 in the afternoon—finding that right balance between breakfast foods, lunch foods and exotic hybrids of the two—is no small task. And then there's the issue of dealing with fussy diners.

Will you be celebrating mom by way of a big brunch buffet this Sunday or do you have other Mother's Day dining traditions you like to keep? Tell us in the comments area below.

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Jesse Rhodes | READ MORE

Jesse Rhodes is a former Smithsonian magazine staffer. Jesse was a contributor to the Library of Congress World War II Companion .

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The problem of labour in the New World

The enslavement and racialization of africans, human rights versus property rights.

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The history of the idea of race

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Race as a categorizing term referring to human beings was first used in the English language in the late 16th century. Until the 18th century it had a generalized meaning similar to other classifying terms such as type , sort , or kind . Occasional literature of Shakespeare’s time referred to a “race of saints” or “a race of bishops.” By the 18th century, race was widely used for sorting and ranking the peoples in the English colonies—Europeans who saw themselves as free people, Amerindians who had been conquered, and Africans who were being brought in as slave labour—and this usage continues today.

The peoples conquered and enslaved were physically different from western and northern Europeans, but such differences were not the sole cause for the construction of racial categories. The English had a long history of separating themselves from others and treating foreigners, such as the Irish, as alien “others.” By the 17th century their policies and practices in Ireland had led to an image of the Irish as “savages” who were incapable of being civilized. Proposals to conquer the Irish, take over their lands, and use them as forced labour failed largely because of Irish resistance. It was then that many Englishmen turned to the idea of colonizing the New World. Their attitudes toward the Irish set precedents for how they were to treat the New World Indians and, later, Africans.

One of the greatest problems faced by settlers in the New World, particularly in the southern colonies , was the shortage of labour. Within a few decades after the settlement of Jamestown, planters had established indentured servitude as the main form of labour. Under this system, young men (and some women) worked for masters, to whom they were indebted for their transportation , normally for a period of four to seven years. They were paid no wages, received only minimal upkeep, and often were treated brutally.

By the mid-17th century a wealthy few had encumbered virtually all lands not under Indian control and were attempting to work these lands using indentured servants. The working poor and those eventually freed from servitude had little on which to survive, and their dissatisfaction with the inequities of colonial society led to riots and numerous threats of revolt. After 1619 this group of poor servants included many Africans and their descendants, some of whom had experience in the Spanish and Portuguese colonies, where slave labour was widely used.

The social position of Africans in the early colonies has been a source of considerable debate. Some scholars have argued that they were separated from European servants and treated differently from the beginning. Later historians, however, have shown that there was no such uniformity in the treatment of Africans. Records indicate that many Africans and their descendants were set free after their periods of servitude. They were able to purchase land and even bought servants and slaves of their own. Some African men became wealthy tradesmen, craftsmen, or farmers, and their skills were widely recognized. They voted, appeared in courts, engaged in business and commercial dealings, and exercised all the civil rights of other free men. Some free Africans intermarried, and their children suffered little or no special discrimination . Other Africans were poor and lived with other poor men and women; Blacks and whites worked together, drank together, ate together, played together, and frequently ran away together. Moreover, the poor of all colours protested together against the policies of the government (at least 25 percent of the rebels in Bacon’s Rebellion [1676] were Blacks, both servants and freedmen). The social position of Africans and their descendants for the first six or seven decades of colonial history seems to have been open and fluid and not initially overcast with an ideology of inequality or inferiority.

Toward the end of the 17th century, labour from England began to diminish, and the colonies were faced with two major dilemmas. One was how to maintain control over the restless poor and the freedmen who seemed intent on the violent overthrow of the colony’s leaders. There had been several incidents that threatened the leadership of the fragile colonies. The aforementioned rebellion led by Nathaniel Bacon in Virginia was a high point in the caustic relations between the planters and leaders of the colony and the impoverished workers. Although that rebellion failed, discontent continued to be expressed in riots, destruction of property, and other forms of social violence.

The second dilemma was how to obtain a controllable labour force as cheaply as possible. Tobacco was the chief source of wealth, and its production was labour-intensive. The colonial leaders found a solution to both problems: by the 1690s they had divided the restless poor into categories reflecting their origins, homogenizing all Europeans into a “white” category and instituting a system of permanent slavery for Africans, the most vulnerable members of the population .

Between 1660 and 1690, leaders of the Virginia colony began to pass laws and establish practices that provided or sanctioned differential treatment for freed servants whose origins were in Europe . They conscripted poor whites, with whom they had never had interests in common, into the category of free men and made land, tools, animals, and other resources available to them. African Americans and Africans, mulattoes, and American Indians , regardless of their cultural similarities or differences, were forced into categories separate from whites. Historical records show that the Virginia Assembly went to great extremes not only to purposely separate Europeans from Indians and Africans but to promote contempt on the part of whites against Blacks. Recognizing the vulnerability of African labour, colonial leaders passed laws that increasingly bound Africans and their children permanently as servants and, eventually, as slaves. White servants had the protection of English laws, and their mistreatment was criticized abroad. Africans, however, had no such recourse. By 1723 even free African Americans, descendants of several generations then of free people, were prohibited from voting and exercising their civil rights. Colonial leaders thus began using the physical differences among the population to structure an inegalitarian society. In the island colonies of Barbados and Jamaica , the numbers of Irish and Indian slaves had also declined, and planters turned increasingly to Africans. Southern planters, who were in regular communication with these island communities , brought in large numbers of Africans during the 18th century and systematically developed their slave practices and laws. Christianity provided an early rationalization for permanent enslavement: Africans were heathens and slaves in their own lands; under English slavery, their souls would be saved.

The underlying reality was that their labour was needed to produce wealth for the colonies and for England’s upper classes. During the early decades of the 17th century, many Englishmen considered the Africans to be civilized. Unlike the Indians, whom they called “savages” and who were largely nomadic hunter-gatherers, the English knew the Africans in the colonies as sophisticated cultivators who understood how to grow foods and other crops in tropical soils. In this they surpassed the Irish who had been enslaved on plantations in the Caribbean; with no tradition of agriculture in tropical habitats, the Irish failed as producers of necessary goods. Some Africans were skilled metalworkers, knowledgeable about smelting, blacksmithing, and toolmaking. Many others were skilled in woodworking, weaving, pottery production, rope making, leatherwork, brick making, thatching, and other crafts.

Two additional factors made Africans more desirable as slaves: Africans were immune to Old World diseases, which caused Indians to sicken and die, and, most important, Africans had nowhere to run, unlike the Indians, who could escape from slavery into their own familiar territory. The Irish, who were also in an alien land, were perceived as unruly and violent. When they escaped, they often joined their fellow Catholics, the Spanish and the French, in conspiracies against the English.

Thus, Africans became the preferred slaves, not because of their physical differences, although such differences became increasingly important, but because they had the knowledge and skills that made it possible to put them to work immediately to develop the colonies. They were not Christian, they were vulnerable, with no legal or moral opposition to their enslavement, and, once transported to the New World, they had few options. Moreover, the supply of Africans increased as the costs of transporting them fell, and English merchants became directly involved in the slave trade .

Chattel slavery was not established without its critics. From the beginning, many Englishmen condemned the presence of slavery in English territories. They argued that theirs was a society of free men and of democratic institutions and that it was committed to the preservation of human rights, justice , and equality. For several hundred years, trends in English culture had been toward the expansion of human rights and the recognition of individual liberty . Slavery, many argued, was antithetical to a free society and subversive of Christian values.

Throughout the 18th century, however, another powerful value in English culture, the sanctity of property and property rights, came to dominate colonial concerns. When faced with growing antislavery arguments, planters in the southern colonies and Caribbean islands, where slavery was bringing great wealth, turned to the argument that slaves were property and that the rights of slave owners to their property were by law unquestionable and inviolable. The laws and court decisions reflected the belief that the property rights of slave owners should take precedence over the human rights of slaves.

Historians concur that the emphasis on the slave as property was a requisite for dehumanizing the Africans. Says the historian Philip D. Morgan, “The only effective way to justify slavery was to exclude its victims from the community of man.” Attitudes and beliefs about all Africans began to harden as slavery became more deeply entrenched in the colonies. A focus on the physical differences of Africans expanded as new justifications for slavery were needed, especially during the Revolutionary War period, when the rallying cry of freedom from oppression seemed particularly hypocritical. Many learned men on both sides of the Atlantic disputed the moral rightness of slavery. Opponents argued that a society of free men working for wages would be better producers of goods and services. But pro-slavery forces, which included some of the wealthiest men in America and England, soon posed what they came to believe was an unassailable argument for keeping Blacks enslaved: the idea of Black inferiority.

A Cultural History of ‘Cringe,’ and How the Internet Made Everything Awkward

Taylor Swift’s call to embrace cringe leads us back to the wholesome, compassionate origins of cringe rather than the ones found in contempt.

online cringe culture

There is a phase in everyone’s lives, a time not so long ago but feels ridged away in memory, which inspires only violent disgust in hindsight. The body instinctively contorts and convulses in shame of violating arbitrary social mores. These felt like violations indeed: a decade-old Facebook post that made liberal use of capitalization and punctuations to litter our language (HapPY BiRthDaY, BeStiE!!!); a text-turned-essay sent to an ex that would instantly be regretted five minutes later; the acid wash jeans that used to be a staple in the wardrobe but now is better left washed away from memory; a video of an actor praying to Audrey Hepburn’s portrait before walking the red carpet at Cannes.

One word, five letters, an inexplicable feeling: cringe . A curled upper lip, a wrinkle on the nose, a weighted sneer, a shake of the head from side to side. To the assault on grammar, excessive displays of human emotions, fashion that was meant to die, any and every behavior that forgets social norms.

Yet, there’s a churn underway in the tale of cringe culture. Taylor Swift in a graduation commencement speech, among other bits of advice on growing up, urged people to “embrace” and learn to “live alongside it [cringe].” Retrospective cringing will always happen, so be wild, be free, and accept the revolting and the hilarious in equal measure.

The story of cringe is the story of a Russian doll, but one that looks a lot like you and me. We cloak that cringe with shame, then with comedy, then with an infraction so severe that shan’t be committed, and now the biggest piece is one of acceptance. Lurking underneath it all is still that cringe, that sense of public shame, but how we grow around it.

Plot cringe on a cultural graph and it would take the shape of a lustrious zig-zag: it started out as a way to show mild embarrassment and shame, inspired a genre of comedy, became a serious social transgression, and now, a way to reclaim the “non-chic” and the “uncool.”

Thehistory of cringe is rooted in social submission. What reached its peak through the internet culture first originated in the Old English; cringan was the word to describe “to fall, to yield in battle, to give way, to become bent, to curl up.” Cringan became cringe sometime in the 16th century when it introduced the feelings of fear and embarrassment to “bending” or “crouching.” Finally, by the 19th century, the meaning had cemented itself; cringe meant to “recoil in embarrassment, shame, or fear.”

Related on The Swaddle:

Why We Find Cringe Couples Fascinating

Evolutionary history shows cringe is birthed by the fear of social rejection — a feeling similar in intensity to physical pain. People literally crinkle in embarrassment also because the ability to “feel vicarious embarrassment is influenced by our ability to empathize with others,” psychology professor Rowland Miller told Vox. People cringe for reasons beyond contempt; it can be compassion too for having experienced a feeling similar to that unfolding in real-time. Cringe was then about second-hand shame and empathy — human emotions that defined anything and everything we do. Cringe, at its heart, is as much an instinct as it is a conditioned physical response, to public shame.

Then came the rise of “cringe comedy” that truly added the humor to the fluster. It is the 2000s, when Larry David of Seinfeld fame went on to create Curb Your Enthusiasm — a saga of awkward misadventures that capitalize on the brand that was cringe. The Office furthered this trend, when to cringe was to both laugh and feel a revulsion from the second-hand embarrassment for people who were unwittingly the butt of the joke. Michael Scott’s mischances with women and his colleagues add the c, r, i, n, g, e in the word cringe.

Watching train wrecks in fictionalized worlds spilled into a desire to mock those in real life. This coincided with a new public space that made humiliation a currency to reach social capital. “With a new form of public space—the virtual—comes the navigation of new social norms and, consequently, new ways to be humiliated. In 2012, Michael Dombkowski started Reddit’s first cringe-specific forum, curating a repository of content that was “hard to watch,” “embarrassing,” or “impossible to sit through.” Sample? A video of a Microsoft Store dance to the Black Eyed Peas song “I Gotta Feeling” for much, much longer than needed. “I always saw these videos as an empathetic exercise. It was always like,  Oh, I could totally see myself doing this , or it just felt like one of those nightmares where you’re at school with no pants or something. It just fills you with dread for that person,” he said .

Our instinct to cringe reinforces the new norms of online social behavior on a bodily level,” wrote Caleb Madison for The Atlantic. Social media truly became a prism for cringe to thrive into a rainbow of meanings; it was an adjective (such a cringe dress), a verb (I’m cringing at her song), a noun (stop writing cringe), and even an interjection. Pete Davidson tattooed Kim Kardashian’s children’s names on his face? Cringe! The mental image of Shrek  snapping a photo , captioned “yep. this one’s going in my cringe collection, instantly paints itself.

At this point, there is an important question to be asked: Is cringe an objective fact? What may be cringe to you may just be plain-old things said and done in jest to others. Then is cringe an inexplicable feeling? Yes and no; no, because it is linked to a feeling of fear, of rejecting social exclusion by rejecting anything the culture automatically deemed as “bad.” This is a coping mechanism — may be one to respond to self-hatred, insecurity, and memories of our own failure.

“While we used to cringe because we understood, we now cringe because we can’t believe it,” Kaitlyn Tiffany argued in The Atlantic.

Cringe has then been weaponized against people to laugh at them instead of with them. Taylor’s call to embrace cringe leads us back to the wholesome, compassionate origins of cringe rather than the one leaden in contempt.

Why Do We Cringe?

If we cringe at social outliers today, it is because feelings of shame and embarrassment have existed far before. And the feeling will outlive internet moments and second-hand embarrassment. Maybe we’ll cringe at “cringe” someday, and we should. If cringe is about shame, it is also an ode to enthusiasm and experiment, of finding levity in chaos and realizing the fleeting nature of it all.

“I think [cringe content] is a controlled way of facing this really deep fear,” said Melissa Dahl, a senior editor at The Cut and author of  Cringeworthy: A Theory of Awkwardness . “It’s funny to talk about being embarrassed during the year 2020 when there’s such scary things going on. But, like, there’s nothing scarier than being cast out on your own and laughed out of the group!”

This is an ownership of the emotion of disgust — because there are countless ways to be humiliated and countless instances to regret. The inevitability of retrospective pain makes a strong case for claiming cringe as a familiar feeling. I look to Taylor who said: “No matter how hard you try to avoid being cringe, you will look back on your life and cringe retrospectively. Cringe is unavoidable over a lifetime. Even the term cringe might someday be deemed cringe. I promise you, you’re probably doing or wearing something right now that you will look back on later and find revolting and hilarious. You can’t avoid it, so don’t try to.”

Imagine watching and analyzing instances in real-time, all while recalibrating one’s own misadventures, and critiquing them for the same. This self-censorship strips away any semblance of empathy. “…the ‘it could happen to me, or it has; — is harder to get to because the positions of viewer and subject are so uneven. The cringe comes at a remove,” Tiffany added. The social norms when translated online inspire unbridled humiliation — sometimes tepid, sometimes severe. As if the attempt is to push someone back inside a cage, away from the “cringeworthy” aspects of their being.

Cringe first gained social relevance by way of mockery, and then again by way of defiance. Cringe stands at odds with chic, of a social order built on conformity and status quo.

The more mainstream the genre of cringe becomes, the easier it is to be subdued by its effects. It is no wonder that Cringe TikTok is a burgeoning canon of its own. Things get viral because everyone hates it, but here’s the catch: the creators know it and end up capitalizing on this knowledge of chaos. “I think for the most part when people think of the word ‘cringey,’ they think of some nerdy kid dressing up and LARPing or something. That’s not cringey to me. That’s someone having a great time. If someone’s making fun of that, then they’re just jealous,” said Kurtis Conner, a popular YouTuber who makes videos about Cringe TikTok. Making fun of people who try, who fall outside the confines of presentable and otherwise, is an act of enforcing servility and demanding homogeneity from a social group — all unrealistic but familiar asks.

We’re reclaiming laughter and the ability to ridicule social mores — and ourselves, most of all. When compassion is found in cringe, it becomes easier to laugh. In the entirety of 2012, Taylor Swift dressed like a 1950s housewife. “But you know what? I was having fun,” she says. “Trends and phases are fun. Looking back and laughing is fun. And while we’re talking about things that make us squirm, but really shouldn’t, I’d like to say I’m a big advocate for not hiding your enthusiasm for things.”

Saumya Kalia is an Associate Editor at The Swaddle. Her journalism and writing explore issues of social justice, digital sub-cultures, media ecosystem, literature, and memory as they cut across socio-cultural periods. You can reach her at @Saumya_Kalia.

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San Francisco Giants | The murky origin of Willie Mays’ ‘Say Hey…

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San francisco giants | rain, lightning over bay area not likely to last, san francisco giants, san francisco giants | the murky origin of willie mays’ ‘say hey kid’ nickname, sf giants legend willie mays embraced the moniker, though he didn’t use ‘say hey’ catchphrase.

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There is some dispute about how Mays, who died Tuesday at 93 years old, actually got the nickname. Most Mays historians credit Barney Kremenko, a reporter for the New York Journal American, with giving Mays his most famous nickname. Kremenko noticed Mays had a habit of greeting people with “hey” as opposed to “hello” or “hi.”

Mays used a high-pitched “hey” with most people he met because he was terrible at remembering names. Hence, Kremenko noticed how often Mays would say “hey” and dubbed him “The Say Hey Kid.”

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It’s that version of the nickname’s origin that is recognized in Mays’ own authorized biography written by James L. Hirsch and published in 2010.

But another version of the nickname’s genesis is that famed New York sportswriter Jimmy Cannon popularized it when Mays arrived in the minors.

“You see a guy, you say, ‘Hey, man. Say hey, man,’” Mays reportedly told Cannon. “Ted (Williams) was the ‘Splinter’. Joe (DiMaggio) was ‘Joltin’ Joe’. Stan (Musial) was ‘The Man’. I guess I hit a few home runs, and they said there goes the ‘Say Hey Kid.’”

Whichever version is correct, the Mays biography states that the nickname was misunderstood. Mays did chant the words “say hey” for a record by a vocal group called the Treniers, but according to Hirsch’s biography, Mays told him he never used the phrase in any conversation.

In 1970, it was lamented in a Sports Illustrated article that Mays had not uttered “say hey” in more than 15 years. Mays himself made no effort to set the record straight.

That said, Mays approved of the nickname and even named his charity for underprivileged and disadvantaged children “The Say Hey Foundation.”

Mays had a number of nicknames in addition to “The Say Hey Kid.” Early in his career, he was called “Willie The Wonder,” “The Amazin’ Mays” and “the Minneapolis Marvel.” Teammates often simply called Mays “Buck” or “Cap,” short for captain.

Carl Steward is a former sportswriter for the Bay Area News Group. Follow him on Twitter/X at twitter.com/stewardsfolly .

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How did Juneteenth get its name? Here's the story behind the holiday's title

By Emily Mae Czachor

June 19, 2024 / 7:00 AM EDT / CBS News

June 19 marks the third consecutive year of Juneteenth as a federally recognized United States holiday. Also known as  Freedom Day , Emancipation Day or America's second Independence Day, Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S. after the Civil War. 

Many Americans have celebrated it annually for more than a century, even though the holiday was not officially added to the national calendar until 2021. As the  Black Lives Matter movement gained renewed power across the country and abroad the previous year with the police killings of Black Americans like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor , public calls grew louder for the federal government to acknowledge emancipation as the critical turning point it was in U.S. history. Advocates sought, again, for leaders to codify the Juneteenth holiday into law, decades after communities began to push for broader recognition of Juneteenth as an emblem of unity, power and resilience in the wake of the police beating of Rodney King in 1991.

Federal recognition came in 2021. A bill to solidify Juneteenth National Independence Day as a legal public holiday passed almost unanimously through both chambers of Congress before being signed by President Biden on June 18. At a White House ceremony held for the occasion, Mr. Biden said: "All Americans can feel the power of this day, and learn from our history." It was the first time a national holiday was established in the U.S. since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was set to honor the late civil rights leader's birthday in 1983.

Juneteenth became a legal federal holiday in the U.S. on the eve of its earliest nationwide observance on June 19, 2021. It is observed and celebrated each year on that same date. 

The origins of Juneteenth

The name, Juneteenth, is a portmanteau, combining June and nineteenth. Its origins date back to June 19, 1865 , when the last group of people enslaved in the southern U.S. were informed of their freedom under the Emancipation Proclamation. President Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation more than two years earlier, on Jan. 1, 1863, declaring that everyone held as a slave was, and would continue to be, free. 

The proclamation took effect as the country neared its second year of the Civil War and technically applied to enslaved people in Confederate states. However, it could not actually be implemented in Confederate territory, and the war would not end in victory for the Union Army until much later, in the spring of 1865. In Texas, the westernmost state controlled by the Confederacy, news of freedom and the tenets of the Emancipation Proclamation arrived that summer. On June 19, thousands of Union soldiers reached Galveston Bay, along the northeastern coast of Texas in the Gulf of Mexico, and announced that all enslaved people in the state were freed by executive order. 


At the time, more than 250,000 Black people were being held as slaves in Texas alone, according to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which writes in a description of the holiday that the "historical legacy of Juneteenth shows the value of never giving up hope in uncertain times." Once the Emancipation Proclamation laid its roots in Texas, those freed from slavery declared the day of its arrival "Juneteenth" in homage to the date when it finally happened. 

Although the Emancipation Proclamation set the stage, critically, for an end to slavery throughout the U.S., it was the 13th Amendment to the Constitution that actually did it. The amendment's passage through Congress and across Lincoln's desk began in January 1865. It was ratified in December of that year, abolishing slavery nationwide.

How to celebrate Juneteenth

Observing Juneteenth each year on June 19 does memorialize that specific day in Galveston in 1865, but it is also symbolic. Many regard the holiday as a joyful anniversary of independence and an opportunity to remember the country's foundation on centuries of slavery.

Historically, communities in different parts of the U.S. have celebrated Emancipation Day on different dates, a tradition that nodded to the fact that news of the Emancipation Proclamation reached people enslaved by the Confederacy at different times after the Civil War. In Florida, for example, advocates in 2021 pushed for the state to recognize and observe Emancipation Day on May 20, because that was the date in 1865 when news of Lincoln's executive decree reached enslaved people there. Washington, D.C., has in the past observed a city-wide Emancipation Day on April 16.

Juneteenth celebrations vary. Public festivities often include parades, parties, concerts, educational workshops and other cultural events centered on art and cuisine. For some, commemorating Juneteenth is mainly about tapping into the spirit of the holiday. Koritha Mitchell, an English professor at Ohio State University who celebrated Juneteenth growing up in a small town outside of Houston, told CBS News in 2021 that, for her, the day revolved around family and "creating community and connection."  

Opal Lee, the retired teacher and counselor whose activism played a huge role in Juneteenth becoming a federally recognized holiday, recalled joyful memories of the annual celebrations in the Texas town where she lived as a child.

"When I was a little one and we lived in Marshall, Texas, we'd go to the fairground," she said in a  CBS News interview  in 2022. "There'd be games and food and food and food. I'm here to tell ya it was like Christmas!"

Lee, now 97, became known as the "Grandmother of Juneteenth" for her famous trek from Fort Worth, Texas, to Washington, D.C., to ultimately deliver 1.5 million signatures to Congress advocating for a law to make the date a federal holiday. She shared her thoughts on the essence of Juneteenth in that 2022 interview. 

"People think it's a Black thing when it's not. It's not a Texas thing. It's not that," Lee said. "Juneteenth means freedom, and I mean for everybody!"

Emily Mae Czachor is a reporter and news editor at CBSNews.com. She covers breaking news, often focusing on crime and extreme weather. Emily Mae has previously written for outlets including the Los Angeles Times, BuzzFeed and Newsweek.

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history (n.)

late 14c., "relation of incidents" (true or false), from Old French estoire , estorie "story; chronicle, history" (12c., Modern French histoire ), from Latin historia "narrative of past events, account, tale, story," from Greek historia "a learning or knowing by inquiry; an account of one's inquiries; knowledge, account, historical account, record, narrative," from historein "be witness or expert; give testimony, recount; find out, search, inquire," and histōr "knowing, expert; witness," both ultimately from PIE *wid-tor- , from root *weid- "to see," hence "to know."

Thus it is related etymologically to Greek idein "to see," eidenai "to know," and to idea and vision . Beekes writes of histōr that "The word itself, but especially the derivations ... that arose in Ionic, have spread over the Hellenic and Hellenistic world together with Ionic science and philosophy." 

In Middle English it was not differentiated from story (n.1); the sense of "narrative record of past events" probably is first attested late 15c. The modern meaning "recorded events of the past" is from late 15c., as is use of the word in reference to a branch of knowledge. The meaning "a historical play or drama" is from 1590s.

The sense of "systematic account (without reference to time) of a set of natural phenomena" (1560s) is now obsolete except in natural history (as late as the 1880s published county histories in the U.S. routinely included natural history chapters, with lists of birds and fishes and illustrations of local slugs and freshwater clams). The meaning "an eventful career, a past worthy of note" ( a woman with a history ) is from 1852. To make history "be notably engaged in public events" is from 1862.

History is the interpretation of the significance that the past has for us. [Johan Huizinga, "The Task of the Cultural Historian"]
History is more or less bunk [Henry Ford, Chicago Tribune, May 25, 1916]
One difference between history and imaginative literature ... is that history neither anticipates nor satisfies our curiosity, whereas literature does. [Guy Davenport, "Wheel Ruts," 1996]

Origin and meaning of history

Entries linking to history

late 14c., "archetype, concept of a thing in the mind of God," from Latin idea "Platonic idea, archetype," a word in philosophy, the word (Cicero writes it in Greek) and the idea taken from Greek idea "form; the look of a thing; a kind, sort, nature; mode, fashion," in logic, "a class, kind, sort, species," from idein "to see," from PIE *wid-es-ya- , suffixed form of root *weid- "to see."

In Platonic philosophy, "an archetype, or pure immaterial pattern, of which the individual objects in any one natural class are but the imperfect copies, and by participation in which they have their being" [Century Dictionary].

Meaning "mental image or picture" is from 1610s (the Greek word for it was ennoia , originally "act of thinking"), as is the sense "concept of something to be done; concept of what ought to be, differing from what is observed." Sense of "result of thinking" first recorded 1640s.

Idée fixe (1836) is from French, literally "fixed idea." Through Latin the word passed into Dutch, German, Danish as idee , which also is found in English dialects. The philosophical sense has been somewhat further elaborated since 17c. by Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kant. Colloquial big idea (as in what's the ... ) is from 1908.

"connected account or narration, oral or written," c. 1200, originally "narrative of important events or celebrated persons of the past, true or presumed to be; history," from Anglo-French storie , estorie , Old French estoire "story, chronicle, history," and directly from Late Latin storia , shortened from Latin historia "history, account, tale, story" (see history ).

A story is by derivation a short history, and by development a narrative designed to interest and please. [Century Dictionary]

The non-historical sense of "account of some happening or events alleged to have happened" is by late 14c., but the word was not differentiated from history until 1500s and was used at first also in most of the senses of history . In Middle English a storier was a historian (early 14c. as a surname), storial (adj.) was "historically true, dealing with history," and a book of story was a history book. For the sense evolution compare Gaelic seanachas "history, antiquity," also "story, tale, narration," from sean "old, ancient" + cuis "a matter, affair, circumstance."

The literary sense of "tale in more or less imaginative style, narrative of fictitious events meant to entertain" is from c. 1500. The sense of "plot or intrigue of a novel or drama" is by 1715; story-line "plot-line of a novel or drama" is attested by 1941.

The meaning "humorous anecdote, incident related for interest or entertainment" is by early 15c. As "facts or events of a given case considered in sequence," c. 1600. The meaning "report or descriptive article in a newspaper" is by 1892. As a euphemism for "a lie, a falsehood" it dates from 1690s.

Whole story "full account of the matter" is from 1660s. Another story "different matter requiring different treatment" is attested by 1818. Story of my life "sad truth" first recorded 1938, from a typical title of an autobiography. In late 14c. naked story was "unvarnished account."

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Juneteenth: What to know about the historical celebration that's now a federal holiday

On june 19, 1865 slaves in galveston, texas were given the news that they were freed by president abraham lincoln. now, the day is a holiday that celebrates the "second independence day" in america..

Three years after it was made a federal holiday , Juneteenth 2024 marks a day of celebration as well as education.

The federal holiday known as “Second Independence Day,” marks the day the last African American slaves were notified that they had been freed from their masters, the National Museum of African American History and Culture said.

Dr. Tim Goler, a professor of urban affairs and sociology courses and director of research for the Center for African American Public Policy at Norfolk State University, told USA TODAY that Juneteenth or "Freedom Day" is a day that shows the "beauty of our culture" that everyone should participate in.

The origins of Juneteenth date back to June 19, 1865 – more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation - when the Union Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced the end of the Civil War and the emancipation of enslaved African Americans, Goler said.

“This delay and the enforcement of the emancipation in Texas was due to a lack of enforcement until this general arrived," Goler said. "Then Juneteenth thus became this kind of powerful symbol of freedom and the long struggle for civil rights."

The Juneteenth National Independence Day A ct was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate in June 2021. The bill was signed by President Joe Biden on June 17, 2021, which officially made the day a federal holiday.

Here's what you need to know about Juneteenth.

An African American holiday: Predating Juneteenth was nearly lost to history. It's back.

Black History, Juneteenth becoming more cemented in fabric of US

Although Juneteenth is now becoming a part of the conversation regarding Black History, there was a time when Black History was not widely discussed within the educational system, especially for historians, said Dr. Alan Singer, a professor of teaching, learning and technology at Hofstra University who writes about the history of slavery and racism.

“I didn't learn it (until) I was an adult, really (in the) 1990s, when as a teacher, I started studying more, so I (could) incorporate it into my lessons,” he said. “I went to City College in the 1960s and they had first introduced a course called ‘American Negro History’ and that was the first time I had learned about any of these things. I took the course because I became a political activist while at City College and I needed to know more about the African American civil rights struggles.”

Singer also adds that he attended high school during the Civil Rights Movement and was never taught about Black History. To change that, he decided to educate himself more to properly teach his students.

“I just felt a heavy responsibility as a teacher to really present a much more accurate picture of the history of the United States,” he said.

Goler adds that Juneteenth has been recognized for years within the Black community and history. Now, the day has become more publicly known.

"In recent years, Juneteenth has gained a much wider recognition. It's only been since 2021 that it became that designated as a federal holiday," he said. "Many Black people and Black communities around the country have celebrated Juneteenth. It's just becoming much more wider and much more visible now."

Commercialization of Juneteenth

Since Juneteenth has been declared a federal holiday, many retailers have unveiled Juneteenth attire through clothing, footwear, hats and other merchandise.

"The question is, 'who benefits from the commercialization of Juneteenth?' I’d definitely like to see more African American (and) more Black businesses benefit," Goler said. "The trend of commercialization, we risk the overshadowing of the historical context, and the ongoing struggle for racial equality that Juneteenth represents."

Singer hopes that companies that are selling Juneteenth products are also advocating for more inclusivity.

“What I'm arguing is that what we need to do is to use a day like Juneteenth as a launching pad to build a more just society,” he said. “It should not just be about the past, it has to be about the future.”

Goler hopes that the holiday will bring everyone together but also educate them about this important day in Black History.

"I think as we observe Juneteenth, it's important to focus on the education, reflection, the community engagement aspect and really ensure that the day remains of a pungent reminder of our continued and enduring fight for freedom and justice," he said.

Ahjané Forbes is a reporter on the National Trending Team at USA TODAY. Ahjané covers breaking news, car recalls, crime, health, lottery and public policy stories. Email her at  [email protected] . Follow her on  Instagram ,  Threads  and  X (Twitter) .

Election latest: Sunak admits he got job 'because of a mistake'

Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer have faced the latest Q&A of this year's election, this time hosted by The Sun. Scroll through the Politics Hub to catch up on our updates and analysis from the event.

Monday 24 June 2024 23:06, UK

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Join us in the morning for more live updates.

Reducing knife crime will be a "moral mission" for Labour if it wins the election on 4 July, Sir Keir Starmer will say on Tuesday.

The party leader will outline his plan to halve knife crime over the next 10 years, including creating a new cross-government "coalition" to work on solutions - bringing in families of victims and survivors of knife crime, along with tech companies and relevant organisations. 

Sir Keir will also promise to chair an annual knife crime summit to "track progress" on the target, and appeal to all parties to work together on the issue. 

"Knife crime is an issue above and beyond party politics," he will say. "For the parents grieving sons and daughters who never came home, action to end this scourge cannot wait.

"Far too often we hear the same stories from grieving families who have been subject to these brutal murders carried out by children. 

"It is our duty as political leaders of all stripes to work together to end knife crime and keep our young people safe."

Figures from Labour showed knife-related offences had risen by 81% since 2015 across England and Wales. 

The party's pledges for after the election include increasing the penalties for carrying a knife - including custody in the most serious cases, as well as extending the list of banned knives. 

Its 10pm - here's your late night general election bulletin.

We're into the last full week of the election campaign, with just 10 days left until polling day - and things are heating up.

Here's a run down of everything you may have missed:

  • Rishi Sunak  today said he is not being investigated by the Gambling Commission over the betting scandal;
  • He confirmed the Conservative Party is carrying out its own investigation - and will pass its findings on to the Gambling Commission ;
  • The prime minister later took part in an election Q&A with The Sun, in which he insisted he only took the top job "as the result of a mistake" made by Liz Truss ;
  • He also failed to confirm whether he called a summer election to avoid potential legal trouble over Rwanda flights taking off in July;
  • Meanwhile, economists have lambasted a "conspiracy of silence" from the main parties over their tax and spending plans - read more below:
  • Over to Labour, which has offered to meet Harry Potter author JK Rowling to provide her with "assurances" over the protection of women-only spaces; 
  • Sir Keir Starmer also took part in the election Q&A, and he admitted that he "understands" why people are confused by his shift in stance on Jeremy Corbyn;
  • And Lord Richard Dannatt, the former head of the army, has said Nigel Farage is "not worth listening to about anything" - particularly relating to the war in Ukraine;
  • The Reform leader said last week the West had contributed to the invasion of Ukraine;
  • He has launched a blistering attack aimed at his one-time ally Boris Johnson - highlighting a front page showing Mr Johnson holding a similar stance on Russia back in 2016.

A flurry of general elections since 2015 has brought an unprecedented churn in our parliamentary representatives.

This year, two in five MPs aren't seeking re-election and the picture for the Conservatives is record-breakingly grim.

An unparalleled total of 23% of Conservative MPs are calling it a day in 2024, more than the previous high of 22% of Tories who quit in 1997, another year of boundary changes.

In contrast, only 15% of Labour MPs are resigning.

There are many reasons MPs quit: from retirement, family commitments and health concerns to career change, abolished constituencies, and the prospect of defeat.

But their decision to depart can reveal much about life in Westminster and have a significant impact on parliament's mix of experience, demographics, and the direction of political parties.

Dr Sofia Collignon, associate professor in Comparative Politics, analyses the churn in our representatives here:

Wales is a Labour heartland, but it's clearly in the sights of other parties during this election campaign.

Reform UK even launched its manifesto in a town in the south of the country, Merthyr Tydfil.

Although Wales has its own parliament and makes most of its own decisions, they still elect MPs who stand in Westminster.

Sky's Wales reporter Tomos Evans explains how the cost of living, steel industry and nuclear energy will be key issues for voters.

By David Blevins , senior Ireland correspondent

Northern Ireland's first and deputy first ministers have condemned the Conservative Party for the impact of Brexit on the region.

Sinn Fein's Michelle O'Neill told Sky News the current government had "played fast and loose" with the Good Friday Agreement.

Emma Little-Pengelly, of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), said Northern Ireland was the victim of the Tories having "botched Brexit".

Doug Beattie, the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) leader, accused the "chaotic" Tory government of "destroying the cohesion of the United Kingdom".

Tactical voting is a talking point at every election - but it could play a particularly big role this time round.

The polls suggest huge public discontent with the Tories, but there are many seats where Labour - widely projected to form the next government - are not the main challengers.

It's contests like these where the Lib Dems, Reform UK, and the Greens might hope to make gains.

Below, Sky's political correspondent  Serena Barker-Singh explains what tactical voting is when it comes to an election and how it could impact parliament's makeup come 5 July.

Our live poll tracker collates the results of opinion surveys carried out by all the main polling organisations - and allows you to see how the political parties are performing in the run-up to the general election.

It shows a drop in support in recent days for Labour and the Tories - with a jump for Reform and the Liberal Democrats.

Read more about the tracker here .

Tonight on Politics Hub With Sophy Ridge , both our Tory and Labour guests faced questions over a report suggesting neither party are being honest with voters about their tax and spending plans.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies launched its report on their election manifestos this morning, warning public services will have to be cut over the next parliament, unless government debt or taxes rise further.

Labour and the Tories have both ruled out tax rises on working people, but also downplayed the risk of cuts to key public services.

So, are they being honest? Our business correspondent Paul Kelso takes a closer look at the numbers...

That concludes our coverage of tonight's Politics Hub With Sophy Ridge  - the show will return tomorrow at 7pm. Stick with us here for more updates and analysis throughout the evening.

Five years ago it was indisputably the Brexit election, but this time round it's become something of an elephant in the room.

But in Northern Ireland, none of the party leaders are shy of talking about the impact of Britain leaving the EU.

Our  senior Ireland correspondent  David Blevins   has spoken to them all about the legacy of the 2016 referendum - and how a new government at Westminster might change things.

As David notes, to "get Brexit done" the Tory government put a trade border in the Irish Sea between Northern Ireland and Great Britain - something that was once unthinkable.

Michelle O'Neill, Sinn Fein:

"I think there's an opportunity now with what potentially looks like a Labour government coming into play to reverse the damage of Brexit. 

"And actually, I would hope we get to the point where actually we reverse the Brexit decision altogether. 

"That may not be where Labour are headed, but I think there is an opportunity to reset relationships, critically between London and Dublin, because those have been very much fractured."

Emma Little-Pengelly, DUP: 

"The Conservative Party and the UK government botched Brexit and Northern Ireland was the victim of that. 

"We called out the Conservative Party on this at every single stage. 

"We had to fight incredibly hard to try to undo the damage made by the decisions made by the Conservative Party in government. 

"But of course it was us fighting for that, while others were agitating and pushing for rigorous implementation of that really bad deal."

Naomi Long, Alliance: 

"What we need to do looking forward is say... how do we make the benefits of the Windsor Framework work in our advantage? 

"We have a unique position in Northern Ireland in terms of trade: we can trade freely into GB, we can trade freely with the Irish Republic, but more than that, we are a foot in the European Union."

Colum Eastwood, SDLP:

"Brexit has been a disaster for the whole of the UK, I would argue, economically and in many other ways, but we felt it much more keenly here because we share a border with the European Union.

"We had to do an awful lot of work to put things back together after the mess that was made by Brexit and Boris Johnson and the DUP. 

"From our perspective, there's no better outcome than actually being back in the European Union lock, stock, and barrel."

Doug Beattie, UUP:

"Brexit was a defining moment. 

"It absolutely undermined the cohesion of the United Kingdom, and I think we can see the out workings of that even today. 

"And whatever government gets in - and we all think it's going to be a Labour government - I think they're going to have to work on that cohesion as one of their main outputs."

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  1. essay

    essay. (n.). 1590s, "trial, attempt, endeavor," also "short, discursive literary composition" (first attested in writings of Francis Bacon, probably in imitation of Montaigne), from French essai "trial, attempt, essay" (in Old French from 12c.), from Late Latin exagium "a weighing, a weight," from Latin exigere "drive out; require, exact; examine, try, test," from ex "out" (see ex-) + agere ...

  2. essay, n. meanings, etymology and more

    There are 12 meanings listed in OED's entry for the noun essay, nine of which are labelled obsolete. See 'Meaning & use' for definitions, usage, and quotation evidence. essay has developed meanings and uses in subjects including. literature (late 1500s) animals (early 1600s) hunting (early 1600s) military (mid 1600s) metal industry (mid 1600s)

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    Definitions John Locke's 1690 An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. The word essay derives from the French infinitive essayer, "to try" or "to attempt".In English essay first meant "a trial" or "an attempt", and this is still an alternative meaning. The Frenchman Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592) was the first author to describe his work as essays; he used the term to characterize these as ...

  4. The Essay: History and Definition

    Meaning. In the broadest sense, the term "essay" can refer to just about any short piece of nonfiction -- an editorial, feature story, critical study, even an excerpt from a book. However, literary definitions of a genre are usually a bit fussier. One way to start is to draw a distinction between articles, which are read primarily for the ...

  5. History of writing

    The history of writing traces the development of writing systems [1] and how their use transformed and was transformed by different societies. The use of writing prefigures various social and psychological consequences associated with literacy and literary culture. With each historical invention of writing, true writing systems were preceded by ...

  6. A History Of The Invention Of The Essay

    The word "essay" was first used by a Frenchman. It is generally accepted that the Frenchman Michel de Montaigne, born in 1533, was the first author to describe his works of writing as essays. Back then, essay was a term that he used to characterise the way that he would attempt to put his various thoughts into writing.

  7. The Origins of Writing

    Only a few examples of its use exist in the earliest stages of cuneiform from between 3200 and 3000 B.C. The consistent use of this type of phonetic writing only becomes apparent after 2600 B.C. It constitutes the beginning of a true writing system characterized by a complex combination of word-signs and phonograms—signs for vowels and ...

  8. Etymonline

    Tremendous thanks and appreciation to all of you. The online etymology dictionary (etymonline) is the internet's go-to source for quick and reliable accounts of the origin and history of English words, phrases, and idioms. It is professional enough to satisfy academic standards, but accessible enough to be used by anyone.

  9. The Etymology of Words and Their Histories

    By. Richard Nordquist. Updated on July 03, 2019. The etymology of a word refers to its origin and historical development: that is, its earliest known use, its transmission from one language to another, and its changes in form and meaning. Etymology is also the term for the branch of linguistics that studies word histories.

  10. English Essay: Origin, Development and Growth

    The 'essay' as a form of literature is not of ancient origin. It was in 1571 that the 'essay' was invented by the French philosopher, Montaigne. He called his short, philosophical writings which were the products of moments by the French word assai, which means 'attempt'. Since then the word 'essay' has been applied to compositions of the kind ...

  11. The History of Essay: Origin and Evolvement

    The term essay was adopted from French "essayer", which was adopted from Latin "exagere". The last one means "to sort through". In the far 16th century, the essay was mostly a form of a literary piece. Afterward, it has gained wider use in literature and study. It lost all its formality and has become quite a popular writing form.

  12. An Introduction To Etymology: Eight Great Word Origins

    June 27, 2023. Etymology is the study of the origin of words and how the meaning of words has changed over the course of history. Let's get meta and take the word "etymology" as an example. "Etymology" derives from the Greek word etumos, meaning "true.". Etumologia was the study of words' "true meanings.". This evolved into ...

  13. Democracy (Ancient Greece)

    The ancient Greeks were the first to create a democracy.The word "democracy" comes from two Greek words that mean people (demos) and rule (kratos).Democracy is the idea that the citizens of a country should take an active role in the government of their country and manage it directly or through elected representatives.In addition, it supports the idea that the people can replace their ...

  14. History of English

    English is a West Germanic language that originated from Ingvaeonic languages brought to Britain in the mid-5th to 7th centuries AD by Anglo-Saxon migrants from what is now northwest Germany, southern Denmark and the Netherlands.The Anglo-Saxons settled in the British Isles from the mid-5th century and came to dominate the bulk of southern Great Britain. . Their language originated as a group ...

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    English language is a West Germanic language that originated in England and spread to many parts of the world. It is the dominant language of several countries and the most widely used lingua franca. Learn about its history, development, characteristics, and varieties from Britannica, the online encyclopedia that covers a wide range of topics and personalities.

  16. Opinion

    How the N-Word Became Unsayable. April 30, 2021. Artwork by The New York Times. Share full article. By John McWhorter. Dr. McWhorter is a linguist who has written extensively about both race and ...

  17. The Birth of Brunch: Where Did This Meal Come From Anyway?

    And then there are those who look to New York's abundance of dining spots when it comes to tracing the origins of classic brunch dishes from eggs Benedict to bagels and lox. What does seem certain ...

  18. writing

    also hand-writing, "writing with the hand; form of writing peculiar to a person," early 15c., from hand (n.) + writing, translating Latin manuscriptum and equivalent to Greek kheirographia.Earlier was simply hand (n.) "handwriting, style of writing;" and Old English had handgewrit "handwriting; a writing.". An ordinary note in his [Horace Greeley's] handwriting is said to have been used for a ...

  19. Race

    Race - History, Ideology, Science: Race as a categorizing term referring to human beings was first used in the English language in the late 16th century. Until the 18th century it had a generalized meaning similar to other classifying terms such as type, sort, or kind. Occasional literature of Shakespeare's time referred to a "race of saints" or "a race of bishops."

  20. A Cultural History of 'Cringe,' and How the Internet Made Everything

    What reached its peak through the internet culture first originated in the Old English; cringan was the word to describe "to fall, to yield in battle, to give way, to become bent, to curl up." Cringan became cringe sometime in the 16th century when it introduced the feelings of fear and embarrassment to "bending" or "crouching."

  21. The murky origin of Willie Mays' 'Say Hey Kid' nickname

    Kremenko noticed Mays had a habit of greeting people with "hey" as opposed to "hello" or "hi.". Mays used a high-pitched "hey" with most people he met because he was terrible at ...

  22. History of Latin

    Old Latin (also called Early Latin or Archaic Latin) refers to the period of Latin texts before the age of Classical Latin, extending from textual fragments that probably originated in the Roman monarchy to the written language of the late Roman republic about 75 BC. Almost all the writing of its earlier phases is inscriptional. Some phonological characteristics of older Latin are the case ...

  23. News & Publications

    AHA Booklets. The AHA publishes booklets that address a diversity of topics to serve the needs of history students and historians in all professions. Our publications include career advice for history graduates, overviews and syntheses of current historical topics and fields, and guides to teaching and learning in history. View Booklets.

  24. How did Juneteenth get its name? Here's the story behind the holiday's

    The name, Juneteenth, is a portmanteau, combining June and nineteenth. Its origins date back to June 19, 1865, when the last group of people enslaved in the southern U.S. were informed of their ...

  25. history

    Beekes writes of histōr that "The word itself, but especially the derivations ... late 14c., ethimolegia "facts of the origin and development of a word," from Old French etimologie, ethimologie (14c., Modern French étymologie), from Latin etymologia, from Greek etymologia "analysis of a word to find its true origin," properly "study of the ...

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    Edmonton Oilers force Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Finals. "We have one game to go," Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov said. "We were ready right from the start to play a seven-game series ...

  27. Origin of language

    The origin of language, its relationship with human evolution, and its consequences have been subjects of study for centuries.Scholars wishing to study the origins of language must draw inferences from evidence such as the fossil record, archaeological evidence, contemporary language diversity, studies of language acquisition, and comparisons between human language and systems of animal ...

  28. Juneteenth 2024: What to know about the federal holiday

    0:59. Three years after it was made a federal holiday, Juneteenth 2024 marks a day of celebration as well as education. The federal holiday known as "Second Independence Day," marks the day ...

  29. Election latest: Senior Tory demands 'robust action' on betting scandal

    Sir Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat leader, has been asked about the ongoing betting scandal. Asked whether politicians should be subject to betting restrictions, he says: "I'd be happy to look at ...