World Wide Words

Ever wondered where the word “asparagus” comes from? Did you know that the word “panic” comes from the Greek god Pan? And why Americans call fried potatoes “french fries”?

The Greek god Pan

World Wide Words is a place to find out about word and phrase etymology (the origins of the words), and to help you think about how language is always changing, adapting, evolving.

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You can search the site, and there is also an index. (These are under the “Finding Things” heading on the left side of the page.)

The explanations can be a bit wordy, but they’re interesting. It’s a great site for people who are interested in reading detailed, and often very amusing, stories about language.

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