Dictionary_of_world_origins

From: John Ayto, Dictionary of Word Origins, Arcade Publishing Inc., New York, 1990

Bluff ‘deceive’, in XIX Century, was originally a US poker term. It comes from Dutch bluffen ‘boast’, the descendant of Middle Dutch bluffen ‘swell up’.

Bubble Several Germanic languages have words that sound like, and mean the same as, bubble – Swedish bubla, for instance, and Dutch bobbel – but alla are relatively modern, and there is no evidence to link them to a common source. As likely as not, the whole family of bubble words represents ultimately an attempt to lexicalize the sound of bubbling, by blowing through nearly closed lips.

Business The term indicates the quality of being busy, because of a job, deal, art, and so on. Business is the opposite of “busy-less”, therefore it also indicates the state of not being working.

Capital From Latin caput (Head), in the sense of main or principal part of a body.

Credit praise, commendation, recognition, acknowledgment, honour, glory, acclaim, tribute, homage, merit, asset, reputation, regard, esteem, name, credence, belief, acceptance, faith, trust, reliance, confidence, credibility, accredit, assign, impute, account, deferred payment, by hire purchase. It comes from Latin credere, i.e. believe on the pay ability of a debit or debtor.

Debt From Latin debeo, I owe (you).

Finance Of all the English descendants of Latin finis ‘final movement, end’ or ‘limit’ (see FINANCE, FINE, and FINISH), final, which coes via Old French final from Latin finālis ‘last,’ preserves most closely the meaning of its source. But although by classical times fīnis denoted a temporal conclusion, its original use was for a physical boundary, and it appears to be related to fīgere ‘fix’ (source of English fix) – as if its underlying meaning were ‘fixed mark.’

Fraud See Frustrate.

Frustrate Frūstrāte comes from Latin frūstrātus, ‘disappointed, frustrated,’ the past participle of a verb fomed from the adverb frūstrā ‘in error, in vain, uselessly.’ This was a relative of Latin fraus, which originally meant ‘injury, harm,’ hence ‘deceit’ and then ‘error’ (its English descendant, fraud [14] preserves ‘deceit’). Both go back to an original Indo-European *dhreu-which denoted ‘injure.’

Interest The Latin verb interesse menat litterally ‘be between’ (it was a compound of inter ‘between’ and esse ‘be’). It was used metaphorically for ‘be of concern, be important, matter,’ and appears to have been borrowed into Anglo-Norman as a noun, meaning ‘what one has a legal concern in or share of’. English took this over the 14th century as interesse, but it gradually changed over the next undred of years or so into interest, mainly due to the influence of Old French interest ‘damage’ (or damages, i.e. –compensations, reparation, indemnity, reimbursement, restitution, satisfaction, costs, expenses, penalty, fine – n.d.a.), which came from the third person present singular form of the Latin verb. The main modern sense ‘curiosity’ developed towards the end of the 18th century.

Investment The tymological notion underlying invest is of ‘putting on clothes.’ It comes via Old French investir from the Latin investīre, a compound verb formed from the prefix in and vestis ‘clothes’ (source of English vest, vestment, travesty, etc.). It retained that original sense ‘clothe’ in Englis for several centuries, but now it survives only in its metaphorical descendant ‘instal in an office’ (as originally performed by clothing in special garments). Its financial sense, first recorde in Engish in the early 17th century, is thought to have originated in Italian investire from the idea of dressing one’s capital up in different clothes by putting it into a particular business, stock, etc.

Money An epithet used in ancient Rome for the goddes Juno was Monēta (derived by some etymologists in the past from the Latin verb monēre ‘advise, worn,’ although this is now regarded as rather dubious). The name was also applied to her temple in Rome, which contained a mint. And so in due corse monēta came to mean ‘mint’ (a sense retained in English mint, which goes back via a circuitous route to monēta), then ‘stamp for coining,’ and finally ‘coin’ – the meaning transmitted via Old French monete to English money.

Profit From Latin pro facio, do in favor of. Usually profit is expressed in monetary terms.

Savings From Latin salvare, i.e., not spent.

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