Exploring the fascinating origins of job names

Originally published at: Exploring the fascinating origins of job names | Boing Boing




Thank you! Always delight in etymological tales. Often i’ll fecklessly try to resolve controversy by asking folks to precisely define their terms, and that leads to the origin of those words, and that leads to loss of the point, and hopefully a happier, (or less unhappy), event where cheese and ethanol is featured.

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 true sense (of a word),” with -logia “study of, a speaking of” (see -logy) + etymon “true sense, original meaning,” neuter of etymos “true, real, actual,” related to eteos “true,” which perhaps is cognate with Sanskrit satyah, Gothic sunjis, Old English soð “true,” from a PIE *set- “be stable.” Latinized by Cicero as veriloquium.


I find it fascinating how in Arabic, laḥm (لحم) means meat, while in Hebrew, leḥem (לחם) means bread. Same letters, same three-consonant root, but different foods.

In both, they share the sense of “the main food”, so interesting reflection of culture.


So I guess chicken is “the other white meat” and pork is “the other other white meant.”


They that take out the garbage always have a job, true, tis so true.

I’m surprised he didn’t discuss my favorites, but maybe it didn’t really fit with the rest of the exploration of etymology.

Calculator and computer. Both used to refer to jobs and then to refer to the machines that replaced the humans.

NASA was one big organization that employed hundreds of calculators/ computers who were immediately let go after they got their first IBM machine.

Also typewriter, meaning one who operated a typewriting machine. Later replaced by “typist”.

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