366 surprising etymologies from dozens of languages, collected by students of Linguistics at Leiden University.

An etymology is the history of a word. How did it end up in a language, and how did it acquire its current form and meaning? The etymology of a word often tells an interesting story: it gives an insight into the culture and worldview of the people who used the word hundreds or even thousands of years ago.

During our studies in Linguistics, we regularly come across interesting, funny or surprising etymologies. In 2019, we managed to fill a whole page-a-day calendar with them, but that was not enough by far to discuss all our favourite etymological facts! That’s why we’re releasing a second Etymology Calendar in 2020. What can you expect from it?

366 interesting etymologies

Some words used to have a completely different meaning. Others are unexpectedly related to another word that, at first sight, has nothing in common with it. And sometimes historical events make such an impression that they permanently change our vocabulary. Each of the 366 etymologies in the Etymology Calendar tells its own story!

Interesting for everyone

We want to make our wonderful field of research accessible to everyone who is interested in language. That’s why the Etymology Calendar has been written in such a way that everyone can understand the etymologies. You don’t need any prior knowledge and you don’t need to know any foreign languages: a love for language is more than enough.

Dozens of different languages

The Etymology Calendar gives a lot of information about English words you use on a daily basis, but also contains interesting etymologies from languages you may never even have heard of. You will not only learn something new about your own language, but you’ll also get an impression of the wide range of languages spoken all over the world.

Preview of the Etymology Calendar

Would you like to get an impression of the Etymology Calendar’s content? You can find a few examples here!