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Caricature of Charles Cunningham Boycott, published in Vanity Fair magazine in January 1881. Source: Public domain

Captain Boycott's Abuse of Irish Farmers Sparked the Term “Boycott”

Certain words emerge from peculiar circumstances, leaving an indelible mark on language and society. The term “boycott” is one such example, as it carries a fascinating origin story that intertwines...
Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson has been remembered as one of the greatest naval commanders in British history. Painting by Arthur William Devis. Source: Public domain

Admiral Nelson's Defiance Inspired the Saying “To Turn a Blind Eye”

The expression “turning a blind eye” denotes the deliberate choice to ignore or overlook something, especially wrongdoing or undesirable information. While deeply ingrained within the English...
Detail from Nicolas Poussin’s depiction of the Biblical story of Joshua’s victory over the Amalek. Source: Public domain

Who Were the Biblical Amalek People?

If you’ve been following the news, you will have heard references to the use of the term Amalek which was cited by South Africa at the International Court of Justice in The Hague in January 2024. But...
Racial slurs—such as the use of the term “Indian giving”—no longer have a place in our vocabulary. They demonstrate historic ignorance and are insulting to Native Americans. Source: PixelWitch / Adobe Stock

Why We Should Ditch the Historic Term “Indian Giver” Today

The English language is full of colloquial expressions derived from our storied past. Up there with racial slurs such as “redskin,” “squaw” or “casino Indian,” “Indian giver” or “Indian giving” is...
Swear words in a speech bubble. Source: Yuliia / Adobe Stock

14 Old Swear Words That Should Totally Make a Comeback

Cussing has been around since the time we could stub our toes. Though we’re all familiar with the swear words of the modern age, what about swear words from before our time? Believe it or not, there...
While the term freelancer was coined in the 19th century, freelancing mercenaries have been a reality of warfare throughout history. In the image, tournament lancers from the Album of Tournaments and Parades in Nuremberg. Source: Met Museum / Public domain

The Word ‘Freelancer’ Originates with Medieval Mercenaries

Even though the word freelancer often feels omnipresent, very few know its etymology. In fact, freelancers have been around for a long time. The word freelancer has been traced back to Sir Walter...
The word 'happy' has Old Norse origins

Talk Like a Viking! 10 Everyday English Words with Old Norse Origins

Did you know that many words we use today such as “husband,” “happy,” and “egg” are of Old Norse origin? No? Well, this isn’t surprising, as in the minds of many people the Vikings were nothing but a...
Beltane Fire Festival Celebrations.

The Pagan Wheel of the Year: What Elaborate Rituals and Events Mark this Sacred Cycle?

As more and more people describe themselves as ‘spiritual’ rather than religious, experts expect eco-friendly pagan movements will continue to grow. Already there are perhaps a million pagans in the...
Napoleon's Return from Elba, by Charles Auguste Guillaume Steuben. Napoleon walk between the two forces and said if they were to kill their emperor; they were to do it now. Chauvinism was originally a term applied to veteran soldiers who served under Napoleon

What is Chauvinism? Tracing the Term from the Legendary Nicolas Chauvin to Misogyny

In the modern world, a chauvinist is a person who has “excessive or prejudiced support for one's own cause, group, or sex”. Before this, the word ‘ chauvinism ’ had a narrower scope, and was used...
Apadana Hall, fifth-century BC carving of Persian archers and Median soldiers in traditional costume (Medians are wearing rounded hats and boots)

Kings of the Umman Manda (Media): Their Hidden Origins and History – Part I

The term Medes, as a single ethnic group that encompasses all Media, is generic. It seems that the region of Media encompassed many smaller and independent principalities ruled by chieftains instead...
Cernunnos,"The Horned One" - Paganism

The true meaning of Paganism

The word "paganism" has come to refer to various pre-Christian religions belonging to a number of ancient cultures—those from Greece, Rome, Egypt, Scandinavia, and so on. It has come to also...