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10 Fascinating Unique Word Pairs

The words we use have long histories. Some are straightforward, but many have interesting stories behind them. I have seen many lists of interesting etymologies (none on Listverse, oddly enough), but I have very few lists containing pairs of words that are related in some way. The following 10 pairs have some interesting stories about how they are related.


Cybernetic and Governor


The words “cybernetic” and “governor” come from the same word. That puts Arnold Schwarzenegger in a whole new light, doesn’t it? Cybernetic, while popularly known in the context of biotechnology, is to do with the science of regulatory systems. This can mean the way computer programs control robotics, or how social groups are arranged into hierarchies. The word “cybernetics” comes straight from the Greek word “kubernetes”, in English. The Greek “K” (kappa) is generally turned into a “C” in English, and the Greek “U” (upsilon) becomes a “Y” in English (cyclops is a perfect example). In Greek, a kubernetes was the pilot of a ship, the person who controlled how the ship moved.

The Greeks were better sailors than the Romans, so it did not take long for the Romans to use Greek terminology on Roman ships. The Romans, however, favored the “G” sound over the “K” sound, and “kubernetes” became gubernator. From there, the word started to mean “the guy in charge.” Centuries passed, and the Latin-speaking Franks, who lived in one particular region of Gaul, imposed their pronunciation of Latin on the region, which they now called “France” or “land of the Franks.” Just as the Romans preferred the “G” sound to the “K,” the French preferred the “V” sound to “B”, in this particular word, giving us “governor.” The French “governor” passed into English after the Norman invasion (more on that later).


Dexterity and Sinister


Unlike the two previous words, dexterity and sinister do not come from the same word, but were, in fact, opposites. Dextera in Latin means “right hand”, and Sinistra in Latin means “left hand.” Both words acquired their modern connotations in antiquity. The right hand was the hand that held a soldier’s weapon. “Right-handed” became slang for being skillful or agile, giving dexterity its modern meaning millenia before it was reduced to another stat on an Orcish archer’s ability score.

Sinister’s modern meaning comes from fortune-telling. Augurs (not to be confused with auger, a word discussed a little later) were Roman priests who specialized in divining the will of the gods by watching the flight of birds. The number, direction, origin and species of birds seen, all had some meaning to the augur. Birds seen in the augur’s right field of vision were auspicious, or favorable, while birds seen off the left shoulder were unfavorable, thus “sinister” acquired the meaning of harmful or evil.


Shirt and Skirt


The Anglo-Saxons who invaded and settled Great Britain spoke a dialect of West Germanic, the largest of the three branches of Germanic languages. In the 11th century, Vikings from Denmark invaded and settled throughout what would become modern England, eventually controlling half of the region. These Danes spoke a dialect of North Germanic. The two languages were very similar, but had a number of important differences in pronunciation. Words that had a sh pronunciation in Old English were given a sk pronunciation in Danish.

Both cultures wore a long, unisex frock. In Old English it was called a scyrte (pronounced shoor-teh), while in Danish it was called a skyrta (skoor-ta). As the two cultures mixed, Danish words found their way into the English vocabulary. The nearly identical words for the same object began to be used alongside each other. One came to mean the top half of a man’s outfit; the other came to refer to the bottom half of a woman’s outfit. The same thing happened to many other words, such as screech and shriek.


Gringo and Greek


The Greeks have never called themselves “Greek.” They have always referred to themselves as “Hellenes”, after the mythological figure Hellen (not to be confused with Helen of Troy). The word “Greek” comes from the Latin term “Graeci,” which means “the people from Graia,” the first Greek town the Romans encountered. Gringo, a derogatory word for non-Spanish speakers that is used in many Spanish-speaking areas, likely comes from Griego, the Spanish rendering of Graeci. The word was originally a casual way of saying “foreigner” in Spanish, not unlike the English expression “it’s Greek to me.” After the Spanish expansion into the Americas, the word began to take on a more derogatory context.


Galaxy and Lettuce


The word for milk in Greek was galax (or galactos, depending on whether it was the subject of a sentence or not), while the word in Latin was lac (or lactis, again, depending on whether it was the subject of a sentence). Both Greek and Latin developed from proto-Indo-European, and the two words come from the same source. The Greek term, however, had an extra syllable.

Our home galaxy, the Milky Way, is named after its milky-white appearance in the sky. The word galaxy developed out of the Greek galaxias, with the word galax as its root. The actual term “Milky Way” is a translation of the Latin “via lactea.” Lettuce comes from the Latin word for lettuce, “lactuca.” The word developed from lac (lactis) because the juice of the plant has a milky white appearance. Speakers of Old French pronounced “lactuca” as “laitue.” The English term, developed from the plural “laitues,” was eventually spelled “lettuce.”


Mark and Marquee


A “mark,” as in an indentation or trace, comes from the Old English word “mearc” (or “merc,” depending on whether one came from Saxony or Mercia), meaning boundary or frontier. The modern definition comes from tracing the boundaries of an area (i.e., marking the boundaries). The word was incorporated into many place names, such as Mercia (the region the Angles settled on the northern borders of Saxony), and Denmark (or, rather, Danemark). The name “Mark” is a shortened form of the Latin name “Marcus,” which came either from Etruscan, a lost language, or from Mars, the Roman god of war, and is unrelated to the noun/verb “mark.”

The French title “marquis” originally denoted a nobleman who ruled territory along borderlands. The word eventually came to denote any nobleman above the status of count, but below duke. During war, a marquis would stay in the officer’s quarters in a camp. The tent occupied by a marquis was known as a “marquise.” This term carried over into English where it was used to refer to any tent or awning above the entrance of a building, particularly in theaters that used the space to advertise shows.


Navel and Auger

Navel Piercing

The navel, or belly button, took a more or less straightforward trip from Old English to Modern English. It comes from the Old English word “nafela” (Old Norse, a North Germanic language, rendered it “nafli”), and meant the center of the body. Navels have traditionally been thought of as the center of something. The ancient Greeks believed Delphi was the center of the world, and they erected a large, stone belly button, known as the Omphalos (Greek for navel) that can still be seen in the Delphi museum. The word “naval” comes from the Latin word for “ship.”

An auger is a device used for drilling a straight hole. The word is an interesting example of a phenomenon known as apheresis, the loss of a letter or sound in a word. Most cases of apheresis occur when the initial vowel is unstressed (such as the way “opossum” has become “possum”). The original word was “nauger”; it lost the initial “n” not because it wasn’t stressed, but because of the article “a.” When someone asked “Can you loan me a nauger?” people tended to hear “Can you loan me an auger?” (The same thing happened with “orange.” Compare to the Spanish “naranja.”) The word comes from the Old English word “nafugar,” which meant “navel spear.”


Wise and Video


These two words have to go all the way to proto-Indo-European (PIE) language to find their original connection. Wise comes from the Old English “wis.” Wis developed out to proto-Germanic “wisaz.” Ultimately, the word comes from the PIE word *woid-/*weid-/*wid- which meant “to see”, and from that “to know.” The “w” at the beginning of that is a pesky little sound. It was dropped from the Greek language early on (the Greek verb “oida,” originally “woida,” meant “to know”; we get the word “idea” from this word), and in Latin it was represented by the letter V. Modern languages pronounce the letter as — well, you don’t need me telling you how to pronounce the alphabet. This isn’t kindergarten. But in ancient Latin, the letter was pronounced the way we pronounce the W (veni, vidi, vici was literally pronounced “weni, widi, wiki”).

In the mid-1800s, “frequency” was used in physics to denote the rate of vibration in wave patterns. As science developed, radio waves, and their corresponding frequencies, entered the public vocabulary. Frequencies that could be heard were referred to as audible frequencies, and, by 1919, the slang term “audiofrequency” developed. By 1934, the words were separated, and “audio” became an autonomous word. “Audio”, by coincidence, is literally Latin for “I hear.” When looking for a corresponding term to match visual technology, someone naturally thought of the corresponding Latin term for “I see.” The word was “video,” and it came from the very same PIE word as the Proto-Germanic “wisaz.”


Pork and Pig


After the Norman invasion of Great Britain, England was ruled by an aristocracy that spoke French, while the common people spoke Old English. This dichotomy has drastically shaped the English language. Vocabulary derived from French or Latin has, since, been the mark of education (96% of words on the United States SAT Reasoning Test come from Latin or French, while only 1% have an Old English etymology). The effect of a French speaking aristocracy was not limited to the educated, but impacted everyday language as well.

The aristocracy had no need to spend time around farm animals. The only time they ever saw, or spoke of, a farm animal was when they were hungry and wanted something to eat. When they called for food, they used animal names from the French: words like pork (from Latin porcus), beef, poultry or venison. The animals, however, were tended by a peasantry that used words derived from Old English: words like pig (from Old English picg), cow, chicken and deer. The divide in terminology slowly cemented itself in the language, giving Latin-derived words for animals the meaning of meat from those animals.


True and Tree


Tree comes from the Old English treow, meaning “tree.” In and of itself, the word has a straightforward story. Interestingly, the word “true” comes from the Old English treowe, meaning “faithful” or “steadfast.” The word developed metaphorically from the image of a tree as being rooted to the ground and immovable, and therefore steadfast. What is interesting about this meaning, and the reason I have submitted it as the number one entry, is that this word “true” has never completely lost its original meaning of “being faithful.” The idea of “truth” in other languages has its roots in radically different words. Latin’s veritas comes from words associated with reality and experience, meaning “something which can be confirmed.” Greek’s aletheia means “not forgotten” and was tied closely to the transmission of stories from one generation to the next.

In English, however, truth comes from loyalty, steadfastness and faithfulness. This original meaning has never been lost. We have phrases like “a true friend” to mean someone who sticks by you when times are tough, or “true to his word,” which refers to someone who doesn’t break a promise, but remains steadfast and faithful to what he said. It is absolutely fascinating that after fifteen hundred years of use, the word still has elements of its original connotation. The meaning itself has remained steadfast throughout the centuries.

  • evilspwn

    2 years and finally i'm first. now on to reading the list

    • TimC

      Good work on the first post but it would be nice if after you finished reading the list you edited it and wrote something worthwhile!

      • lalabhaiya

        such optimism from a 'first' guy? i am moved.

      • Rockgod

        And you have wrote something worthwhile?

        Criticize not unto others which you would not have criticized unto you.

        • Name

          And let he who is without sin cast the first Rockgod…

    • Barry Wanksock

      Your life is now complete, congrats.

      • evilspwn

        you are now crowned the king of sarcasm. congrats for being not so bleedin obvious.

    • Kirbytheawesome

      Lol how the hell do you manage a -26 rating on 1 post.

    • Adolf


  • Geronimo1618

    Waaaoooww!! This is a super list, everyone will agree! And the speed has also become awesome, what can I say…now there's one more author who's list I can look eagerly look forward to yooo Tristan :)

  • timothyjames

    #10 was awesome! But it was all downhill from there. luckily it was not a very big hill. More like a gentle decline. Great list. Nice to see someone doing their research. Not to say that the previous lists haven't. It's just always nice to see it.

  • Stefan

    Why do Greek letters sound so freakin' awesome?

    English letter: Oh hi, im the Letter 'U', pronounced "you." This is my friend 'Y', pronounced "why."

    Greek Letter: Hello, I am also the letter 'U', however i am pronounced "Upsilon." This is my Friend 'A', pronounced "Alpha" and 'K', pronounced "Kappa." And we're here to fuck shit up.

    • qwertzinator

      These are just the names of the letters, not their pronunciations. o.O

      • Stefan

        But the fact that they have NAMES makes them EVEN COOLER. Our letters dont have names, they have sounds… It's not as if we say, The english letter 'A', pronounced "elephant" etc :P

        • Jay

          But Z is pronounced zed. Just not in the United States…

          • Maggot

            Zed's dead baby, Zed's dead.

        • Northman

          Dude, they called them by their Greek names, just like we call them by our English ones. A in ours is A; A in theirs is Alpha. The letters in the alphabet in any language are going to be different… because it's a different language.

          • Stefan

            woah woah woah… HOLD UP!
            you mean to tell me that Greek… is another language!?!?!

            shit… this is a revelation for me. Thank you, O enlightened one!

            lol putting the sarcasm aside, i know dude i was joking around :)

    • aerophile

      Be thankful that all but one of our letters have one syllable. Imagine trying to get a four year old to pronounce "Upsilon" correctly.

  • tripsyman

    Good list, being a scot the english language has often been a mystery to me so this list has been insightful ;)

  • cqsteve

    Interesting list & well researched but goddamn trolls – may you rot in hell.

  • Lord Byron

    Wow. So deep. Not. Take your pretentious hipster novels and shove 'em.

  • danny

    this list is actually shit

    • Geronimo1618

      Either give a good reason why…or SHUT UP!

    • Xilebat

      please explain. I thought it was good.

  • The negative comments surprise me – this was one of my favorite lists of the last few weeks.

    • timothyjames

      I think you are trying to ascribe the presence of a troll to far too much reason. You've got to remember that they operate outside normal human boundaries like etiquette and self-control.

    • evilspwn

      it started out real strong. but the interest factor went down considerably later. although tht might not be the same for other readers.
      people might have got used to real strong consistent lists since the site revamp. tht could be the reason for the hatemail. mind you the language lists are not evrybody's cup of tea.

      • timothyjames

        I agree with your comments about the list. I'm always disappointed when I happen to know something on a list already. I feel like I get cheated out of some new facts.

      • Geronimo1618

        Are you kidding or what, that troll doesn't give a hoot as to which list is uploaded. Earlier also, he posted weird shit all over even though the lists were quite good. This I'm talking about happened maybe 4-5 months ago.

    • danny

      just an opinion, maybe i could of put it a bit more politely though

      • timothyjames

        your reflection is appreciated.

      • Geronimo1618

        Yo buddy, I also could have replied more politely to you. If you tone down your comment I'll do the same. Your post was like just downright annoying.

      • Jason

        Could HAVE not could OF.

      • bluesman87

        danny !! dont take no shit off nobody . If you didnt like it ,you didnt like it . you just said so in man language .

    • Stefan

      Jamie, what i suggest you do is look at all the lists with most hits, or most comments. Even though a few of those with high comments will be rampant with stupid debating and general fighting, the lists which are commented on the most are those which people love the most. I dunno, just an idea but perhaps this would please more people? It just seems as if you cant please everyone these days… its just a list after all, not like you need your fix or else you'll go into withdrawal.

      • timmar68

        With all due respect, I don't think you can have lists that will please everybody. Taste is so objective. For every list that I like there will be people that don't like it, and vice versa. That's why I'm glad there won't be the option for paying for "premium" lists, as was suggested. What would qualify for "premium"? I'd hate to pay money and get lists that don't interest me, even if Jamie did everything to try to determine what everyone would like.
        Please don't narrow down topics based on what they majority might like. I like the very broad range and if I don't care for the subject that day then I just wait until the next day to see what awaits.

        • TEX

          (taste is "subjective" – sorry Tim)

        • Jobin

          Surely taste is subjective.

          • Jobin

            Did not read TEX’s above comment. Apologies

      • bluesman87

        no those are just the most controversial.

    • Francy

      It's probably one of my favourite lists from this site so far, I love all this sort of stuff, I'd want a whole site of just this :P

      • qwertzinator

        Go get an etymological dictionary, then you can read that stuff all day. ;)

    • It is indeed a well-researched, thought-provoking list. Too bad it's being threadjacked by flamers.

    • TEX

      I agree – I think it’s an excellent list, but then again I have an intrinsic interest in language, structure, word roots, pronunciation, etc. – though not in practice.

  • undaunted warrior 1

    Enjoyed the list very much – informative and well written.

  • bluesman87

    not my cup of tea . Not really exiting -but this list is pure knowledge (no opinions or ambiguities )and i applaud that . Must have been tough to research and write this. I cannot write a list like this- so i wont knock it .well done .

  • It's lists like this that get me motivated to try and write one myself. Great list :D

  • witcharachne

    Well I thought the list was fascinating. I love etymology and although I knew one or two things from the list I thought the way it was written, phrased and presented made this one of the best lists in ages.

    Awesome list dude. Double-thumbs :)

  • witcharachne

    Well I thought the list was fascinating. I love etymology and although I knew one or two things from the list I thought the way it was written, phrased and presented made this one of the best lists in ages.

  • Geronimo1618

    Well, I see 2leep is back and marketgid is out…but didn't 2leep links lead to malware sites earlier??

    • Not that I am aware of – we swapped back due to performance issues on marketgid

      • Elsa

        Spent the better part of the morning getting rid of malware from 2leep link. Just an FYI Think Point can rot in hell*L*

    • TEX

      I am aware of what you write – as it happened to me more than once visiting the older Listverse versions – and even though JF was in denial at times, it got so bad I stopped coming here for many months. I now have a current anti-malware installed and have not had a single alert of any type here so far – if I do I will send specifics to JF.

      Note to Jamie: a little late, but keep in mind that some/many of us are on terminals where downloads are forbidden (e.g. – .exe’s, et al) – so if a situation occurs that requires a clean-up or installation – basically we’re screwed.

      ((e.g. – .exe’s, et al) my coolness amazes me)

  • Why is the comments section showing the old style of posting and the intensedebate style alternatively? After refreshing?

    • bluesman87

      always did that , just refresh , depends on your browser speed , so sometime it lags .

    • It can happen sometimes when the javascript doesn’t load in time. The good news is that I am dumping intense debate and returning the old style comments (but in keeping with the new look of the site).

      • Geronimo1618

        Yes, and the nested comments should remain, they make it easier to see who's replying to whom and it'll be cool if the thumbs up-down is also retained.

        • tripsyman

          Agree with the thumbs being kept – even if I don't always agree with the general opinion.

        • Nested definitely are staying – thumbs are possible

          • sega

            get rid of the thumbs!!! listverse was alot better without them

            thumbs up if you agree

          • Tron

            Hey bro, thumbs up and points ain't affecting people like you and me yo

          • Stefan

            How contradictory, you're trying to prove your point by telling people to do something you wish to get rid of….

          • Rockgod

            Please explain further, I don't think some people understood what you said clearly.

          • Denzell

            well, you know, the thumbs are for silently telling the trolls to shut their pie holes. Oh, and since this is a comment box, after all, I would also have to say that this is a good list even if I actually know some of these facts.

      • Maggot

        The good news is that I am dumping intense debate…

        WOW! You just kind of quietly slipped that in. If that was a stand-alone post on the Site News list, it would probably break the record for up-thumbs.

  • plum13sec

    This list is not the sex

    • Tron

      I can eat plums in 13 seconds, thereforee this list is the sex-0 for me.

  • FCS

    Gringo is not a derogatory term. Why aren't the "writers" doing some research before looking like ignorant asses.
    I hate the fact that I still come here.

    • Tron

      You love Listverse, admit it now.

    • Funny, my family uses it derogatorily. It may not be particularly vulgar like "spic" or "faggot", but it's derogatory either way.

    • Geronimo1618

      Well, smart ass. You're wrong. It is indeed used as a disparaging term for foreigners.

      • bluesman87

        I used to love that word when i was growing up . I never knew what it meant or even cared. "I AM CORN HOLIO!! I AM A GRINGO !! I COME FROM LAKE TITICACA!! I NEED TP FOR MY BUNGHOLIO!

    • Smash

      When I was in Costa Rica it was considered a VERY derogatory term for Americans. It was explained to me, by a local, to refer to a time when the American military had a strong presence there. Soldiers wore the typical green uniforms and the locals tried to make their point clear by speaking English and saying "green GO". As a Canadian, I was advised to correct locals if they called me a gringo and in my travels, many of them would laugh at my correction and say "you know!". Just an interesting note.

      • qwertzinator

        That sounds like a typical folk etymology.

        • bluesman87


          • qwertzinator

            What the…?!

      • magoopaintrock

        That's weird, I also went to Costa Rica, in fact I lived there for over a year, and I didn't think that word was derogatory in the least. In some cases it might have even passed as a term of affection. For a person to think it's derogatory they would have to be super super super uptight, almost as uptight as the kind of person that would "correct locals" on their own language.

        • Smash

          I don't give a crap about "derogatory" terms personally… I'm a person who is rarely offended. I'm just speaking about my experiences… and in my experiences I NEVER want to be mistaken for an American. It certainly makes life abroad a lot more pleasant… just ask all those American tourists with Canadian flags sewn on their bags! Yes… there were people who thought it was an "affectionate" term and, yes… they were always American (surprise, surprise!). They were being laughed at, but they were usually blissfully unaware. : )

    • Gretchen82

      In Chile is not derogatory, unless you want it to sound mean. I guess it depends on each country and/or culture.

  • Geronimo1618

    ROFL! Brocks baby, you really want people to thumb you up, don't you? Hahahahha…the extremes to which you can go, yer a desperado.

  • mordechaimordechai

    Very interesting list.
    I like a list which reads "Proto Indo-European" often.

  • Tobias

    Awesome list. I’ve taught Greek in college and love to hear about connections like these. You should put together a list of words that mean the opposite today of what they first meant. There are lots of them.

    • astraya

      What a "silly" idea!

  • Geronimo1618

    BTW, why don't you ask your chinese workers to thumb you up again? Are they up in rebellion?

  • Armadillotron

    am I the only person who`s pissed off that Osama Bin Laden has popped up again?

    • qwertzinator

      I don't care. It's not like he's going to die in the next hundred years or so anyway…

    • Geronimo1618

      Osama Bin Laden died long ago, c'mon he's so old how can he be alive now…a couple of look alikes are running the show. Just to maintain the status quo. Whaddyasay?

  • rain

    I think it's better to call Arnold Schwarzenegger, "Governoninator".

  • astraya

    Just my kinda list! Great work! Even if I knew some of them already. I think the dexterous/sinister connection was more "right = skilled = good/left = unskilled = bad".
    I've just finished the first subject of an MA in Linguistics, called "The English Language" (tough subject to start, hey?). The first chapter of the textbook is called "The Glamour of Grammar". The authors explain that those two words are both ultimately derived from Gk grammata – "letters". "Grammar" came via French and came to mean "learning", but with an overtone of magic and the inexplicable in less-literate times. In Sc English, there was a sound change r>l and the word retained the "mysterious, magical" sense, eventually coming to mean "enchantment, allure".
    I'm going to post a link on the MA discussion site to this list.
    In my class I try to point out links between words, but sometimes I have to emphasis the difference between meanings. In yesterday's lesson on countries and tourism, "populated" and "popular". Although they are both derived from Lat populus, I had to stress the difference.

  • Joe

    Interesting list. However, i feel that once you read the first couple that the rest where kind of boring. There wasn't much variety in it, so they all kind of seemed the same, if you understand what i mean.

    • Rockgod

      I know exactly what you mean and I feel the same way

      • Joe

        Thanks. I don't know why i got thumbed down. I expressed my opinion calmly and respectively.

  • Amandroid

    Very interesting list!

  • DeweyFinn

    I love listverse and visit first thing every morning on my phone while I have my coffee, but ever since the latest redesign I sure do miss seeing the related lists at the top. I could get lost for hours skipping from list to list. Now it's more 'one and done' since (on my phone and mobile version) there doesn't seem to be any way to get random lists. Please consider putting them back. And keep up the great work!

  • vanowensbody

    Great list

  • oouchan

    Neat list. For some reason the lettuce one cracked me up. Only because I imagined a huge head of lettuce orbiting the sun.

    • gpdo1884

      Why? It's derived from the same word as galaxy. And the galaxy most certainly does not orbit the sun.
      That being said, the mental image is pretty hilarious.

      • oouchan

        I know…but it was the immediate thought that ran through my head as soon as I saw the word pairing. It was too funny not to share.

      • Julius

        heliocentric worldview….ftw….

  • Jake

    Interesting list, but I can see where it might not appeal to "The Masses". I personally love finding out interesting things about words, their origins and uses, etc. .. but I'm afraid your "Average Internet Person" is usually looking for something more exciting/disgusting/morbid.

    Keep up the good work though, and keep writing lists you enjoy.

  • kipples

    One of the most original lists I've ever read. Well done!

  • whtknt

    Interesting list, to be sure, but not really my bag. Strange, though, since I consider myself something of an etymologist.

  • Snype

    Actually according to my Classics professor, we can read around a couple hundred words of Etruscan, so it's not exactly a dead language.

  • Carole

    Good list
    My mother was beaten to stop her from using her left hand. It was considered evil to be left handed .She tried to stop me using my left hand but gave up, because she didn't want to beat me, so I guess we have made progress.

  • Anybody know what the “RSS” thing is in the “Subscribe” thing is? Apparently it says 0, so i’m going to make a pity subscribe and see where it goes from there.

    • Jay

      I say FOLLOW IT! If we don't hear from you in 12 hours, we'll alert the President.

    • Hehe the count should be closer to 20 thousand – it is a daily feed of the lists

  • bucslim

    Anyone else wonder why you can use the 'F' word interchangeably in a sentence as a verb, noun, adjective, or adverb?

    • Maggot

      Fucking A, you're right!

      • bucslim

        I 'f'edly 'f'ed a 'f'ing 'f.'

  • Thank you Jamie! The site has been working great. I no longer have to close my window and reopen it everytime I open a list. I’d also like to add, I’ve been noticing you’ve been commenting a lot more than usual. Its happened before but after a while, you receed back in to your grotto of knowledge and badassness. I’m gonna try to count how many days until you do.

    • You won't be counting long – I am off on holiday for five day next week! But I will keep it up in the meantime and afterwards :)

  • Diantha

    I may have never loved a list more.

    I'm a big fan of etymology (actually plan on studying Comparative Indo-European Linguistics) and I always love, when seeing Latin or Greek words (I take both in school), I see a connection between a Greek or Latin word and a modern (English/Dutch/French) one. It's really interesting and I love that there's a list on it. I only knew one, about the video/wise. I can add a few things that are related as well: in Dutch, 'to know' is 'weten', which again has that similar root -we. And in Sanskrit (another Indo-European language), I believe knowledge is 'vidya' (not sure since I don't know Sanskrit).

    I'm surprised at all the negative comments but I think this list was really good. It was completely factual and just really interesting (to me, at least). Well done!

    • Dalaru

      I like how we rednecks in the South of the US still use a little Sanskrit. You ask anyone if they've seen that last "vidya" and they'll know what you mean :)

  • Gav

    Latin is not dead.
    It's just kept in a cage, starved
    and tortured daily

    This haiku is brought to you by the number 12 and the letter kappa

  • Is anybody following Br0ck? I can’t check because my computers being suicidal. In any case, his comments always seem to bring a smile to my purty little face, so I want to start a Br0ck fan club!

    • Jay

      Good idea! First step will be to explain to brock what a "fan club" is.

    • Maggot

      I fail to understand why people seem to be so enamored by that homophobic, racist douche.

  • Sek

    Listverse just isn't as good without the "related list" section.

  • Vera Lynn

    It's Greek to me is a line from one of Shakespeares plays.
    Fun list though. I ESP liked the tree/true one.

  • Jay

    brock, I'm giving you a Thumbs Sideways. That means I don't like your horse either.

  • silentcontrol

    Thanks for this list–very informative, especially #2. So that's how we came to call these "meats" the way we do.

    We have a joke here in the Philippines wherein we ask someone the English of a certain meat, and if he/she answers the Old English way, then the joke's on him/her.

    And that pic of #8 made me wanna dust up my Asterix books again.

  • mom424

    But brock you're one of the folks who would most gain by this list. The most effective troll/shit disturbers (at least at a quality site like this one) have the best vocabularies. You do want us to take you seriously eh?

  • mom424

    Very most excellent offering today. Talking is my best and only talent – this list is right up my ally. I knew some of these but there were plenty of new ones to keep me interested. Knowledge without controversy is nice for a change – need a breather now and again.

  • redwolfblack

    damn i had to thumb this up because im a superstitious bastard. well keep on trolling lol

  • magoopaintrock

    The Pork and Pig one isn't fascinating at all. That's just plain, boring etymology at its most basic level. How did that make #2 on a list that, to be fair, does have some fascinating word pairs like Galaxy and Lettuce?

  • redwolfblack

    list is good keep may the listverse gods give you many more fantastic lists.

  • swapie

    Good lord! Did you see the pair on that pig?

  • Miss_J_Bean

    I liked this list, thank you. :)

  • Miss_J_Bean

    I've had that problem, too.

  • undaunted warrior 1

    English not being my first language in my upbringing I truly enjoyed the list, you learn all the time

    Thanks Tristan.

  • Lym

    I love this list. I can see how people with no intelligence or interest in education or knowledge will automatically call it boring, but for those of us who use our brains, it's fascinating stuff. It's one of those lists that makes you go, "Wow, that's cool" or "Ohhh I always wondered about that" and those are some of my favorite kinds. How in the world you got the items to put on the list is beyond me, though. I mean, unless you're working from another list somewhere or some sort of language/etymology source or you really know linguistics, how do you know that galaxy and lettuce are related?

  • TEX

    agreed – but bluesman did AOK on his psych profile

  • Shirokuma

    Will we see a second list of this kind soon? I'd really appreciate it. Good work, thank you!!

  • freckledsmile99

    Love this list! Intersting, well researched. Thank you!

  • umakemehateu

    Very very well researched and written list. I didn’t know a damn thing on here so you could have told me anything.You could have said saxaphone derived from iced tea and I would have believed it and there is no way in hell I would’ve ever done the research on this topic to debate it.

  • Monsivais

    Grengo is Green GO!

    The mexican call a uniform american is grenn

  • TEX

    What’s the current consensus –
    I lost track –
    did we agree to abstain thumbs –
    or thumbs up always with the knowledge that silly boyeees get chub-chub with a high negative score???

    • TEX

      br0ck just thumbs downed my comment which confirms that his high red score indeed gives him perverse sexual stimulation – in the future be sure to always thumbs up br0ck's microphallactic statments.

  • oh wow. o.O THIS.IS.FKNG.AWESOME!!

  • General Tits Von Chodehoffen

    Nice list! Must have been boring as fuck to research though. Guess how chode and tits are related!

  • Fascinating lists. I love reading about etymologies and how cultures borrow words from one another and then adapt them to their own phonologies.

  • Jack

    Wonderful list. I'd like to add this nugget of information regarding the word "apron".

    Originally, the word was "napron", and so therefore was referred to as "a napron", as the sound between "a n-" and "an -" is barely indistinguishable, the word became commonly accepted as "apron".

  • tripsyman

    I agree is there no way they can be blocked……?

  • Actually you both got it right. Under some circumstances, it might be used as a derogatory term. Other times, it can be an affective term. It really depends on the situation. Bottom line, "Gringo" does NOT have ANYTHING to do with Greeks…. AT ALL!!!!!!!

  • It is one of my favorites too :)

  • Name

    I really appreciate the site, with new and imformative content, every day,
    this is my first comment, as i never dislike any list, however
    Listverse 2 site has disappointed me, listverse 1 was easy to navigate
    just my opinion, still love the site

  • Steve

    Cool, interesting, informative list. A heck of a lot more worthwhile than the embarrassing whining of the "political correctness" list.

  • some say "Gringo" came from the time when the americans made an expedition to hunt down Pancho Villa.

    I've heard americans wore green uniforms, so the mexican people would say "Green go!"….which later became gringo

    • edom


    • lilkty

      its funny how all of us latinos are trying to set things straight; we don't use the word "gringo" in a derrogatory way, but since some North Americans feel offended by it they just label it as a derrogatory term.

  • germonderpop

    You know how in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, the dad is always saying "give me a word, any word, and I'll show you that the root of the word is Greek." well, I guess he was right.
    P.s I also think you should bring back the "related lists" at the top.

  • Gringo is not a derrogatory word here in Brazil!

  • African vacations are exciting in their own way, which is unique and adventurous as compared to other countries. Having over 50 countries to choose from is tricky and people must get confused over where to get to first. Nevertheless, whichever African country people settle for they will definitely have a time of their lives. Africa is a wonderful continent and her breathtaking wildlife and tantalizing topography make the vacation even more exciting.

  • Lifeschool

    Wow, very interesting list – very well researched and a neat idea. Describing the origins of words and yet still having the topic make sense in an interesting way is no mean feat. Kudos.

  • Miltos

    passive and Pathetic!

  • daniel

    about #7

    gringo is NOT a derogatory term, and the word comes from what mexicans yelled at US soldiers, 'green go!'

  • lilkty

    I personally never use the word "gringo" in a derogatory way, nor know anyone who does. maybe its because I live so close to the border, so we use it almost every day.

  • lilkty

    the "dexterous" and "sinister" bit does keep some of its original meaning in Spanish.
    "Dexterous" translated "diestro" in Spanish means either "right handed" (that you use your right hand) or skillful. while "sinister" translated "siniestro" means either "left handed" or "harmful/ill meant"

  • rtbradshaw

    Since #7 has come up quite a bit with people saying one of two thing a) Gringo is not derogatory or b) gringo comes from "Green, go!"

    First, the two positions are incompatible. If gringo really did come from an English phrase, then it was expressing antipathy towards US interventionism, and by extension US peoples present in Latin America. If Gringo is not derogatory, then its origin can't have been meant as derogatory. I am not suggesting anyone has adopted both position simultaneously, but it seems many people are bringing up one point or the other.

    As to the whether or not the term is derogatory. I have travelled through Latin America on several occasions. When I was in Mexico, it was unquestionably derogatory, since the people calling us gringos were the same people slashing our tires. At other times, it was used affectionately or not at all. It will not come as any surprise to anyone (hopefully) to know that Latin America is not a single culture. Some cultures in Latin America used the term in a derogatory way, some didn't.

    As to the folk etymology that gringo comes from an English phrase: This is simply not true. The origin I presented in #7 is not 100% certain, but it is the most likely origin. Gringo is first attested in Spanish literature in the Diccionario Castellano, published in 1787, where it was listed as meaning anyone who spoke Spanish poorly. By 1849, it can be seen in Mexican literature, where its meaning does have a negative connotation. US military uniforms did not become green until 20th century, more than 50 years later. The term is at least a century older than the green uniforms. Furthermore, if "green" was slang for the US military, then the term would not universally morph into green-go. It just doesn't make any sense.

  • sam

    GRINGO doesnt come from there, I speak spanish, and the story is: in the texas war yankee soldiers, who wear green uniforms invaded mexico, their orders would be shouted as “green go”. since that was all they ever said, they were nicknamed the greengos, in spanish, it is writen as is not for all foreingers, just for united states or others that look similar to as long as you dont know where they come from. So canadians can be gringos, but french cant, for example.

  • Ran

    to shed light on the gringo conundrum. there was a time when U.S. soldier uniforms were green. when they went into latin america or some spanish speaking country, as it happened in the caribbean about 110 years ago, the locals knew very little english. mostly the basics. for instance go. they didn’t want the soldiers there so they would yell “green-go” as in soldiers leave. the name stuck and became gringo.

  • Matt

    I thought the word Gringo came from the US – México war, the US soldiers wore green clothes, so when they were passing through mexican territory, people would yell at them GREEN GO HOME!… it then got shortened and adapted to the Spanish phonetic spelling way into Gringo.