Etymology of the Word Hearse…and Others

A source of continual interest, at least to me, is how words and phrases have derived their meanings; etymology . I recently became aware of a website that produces interesting videos explaining how selected words have evolved from their origins to their current meanings.

The website is called Mysteries of Vernacular. In the video below, for example, the metamorphosis of the word hearse is examined. How did a word that referred to a wolf (Hirpus) become the basis for a word that refers to a vehicle that carries corpses? Watch the video to find out.

Mysteries of Vernacular: Hearse from Myriapod Productions on Vimeo.

If you enjoy learning about the derivation of words and why they have their current meanings, click on the link below and then click on a lettered book on the bookshelf for additional videos.

Mysteries of Vernacular

Say What? The Penny Has Dropped!

There is an expression,the penny has dropped, that I became aware of recently and I had no idea what it meant. I know the expression,dropping a dime on someone (see below), but this was new to me. As in interested wordsmith, I went to Google to retrieve the answer.

It refers to someone realizing the situation they are currently in after it possibly eluded them for some time. You can find out the derivation of the phrase by checking out the link from the Urban Dictionary. Phrase evolution is very interesting indeed!

Dropping the Dime on Someone – At one time a telephone call cost ten cents. Dropping a dime refers to tattling on someone or revealing information about someone via a telephone call. Of course it no longer has to be via a telephone call. The phrase is not in popular contemporary use, but it is found in detective novels from time-to-time.