etymology

The Best Stuff We've Read This Week

Great articles on Hitchcock, sideshow legends, plane crashes, missing children, AI and lots more stuff.

The Best Stuff We've Read This Week

Each week, Josh and Chuck read a ton of great articles. Here are the best of the bunch.

The Best Stuff We've Read This Week

Each week, Chuck and Josh read tons of articles. Here are the best of the bunch. Enjoy them with our compliments.

Cake Walk: The strange origin of an unwittingly prejudiced term

Surely you've heard the term cake walk, used to describe some sort of challenge or task that is reckoned to be pitifully easy. Surely you have, please, please don't lie. That figurative definition has been around since the early 19th century, as long as the literal one; in fact it appeared in print first. But did you know that the term is actually pretty racist? I'll bet you didn't. Nor did I until I looked into the origin of the term and found it has roots in the Antebellum South of the early 19th century.

Just So Everyone Remembers: Etymology of Geek

I'm very proud of the geek community. As the gay community did with the word queer, geeks wrested control of a disparaging term from the disparagers and took it as their own. What was once derisive is now a source of pride. That is all well and good; I think it's important to remember what a geek once was, however, if at least only to preserve the really unique and weird original sense of the word alongside the new one.