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Sunday, February 8, 2009

Amazing Etymologies!

Along with "Last Year's Zeitgeist", I'm piloting another new feature for this blog: Amaaaaaaazing Etymologies, where we examine the amazing origins of the words that make up our amazing mutt language.

Today's Amaaaaaazing Etymology is "dollar."  When the founders of our nation were looking for something to call their money, they chose not to go with the very British, "pound."  But whence came the word "dollar?"  Well, believe it or not, it comes from the name of an Austro-Czech town by the name of Joachimsthaler.  Joachimstha
ler, had very rich silver mines in the seventeenth century, a time when the rest of Europe was busy debasing its coinage.  The people of Joachimsthaler kept it real, as in real silver, so a coin from Joachimsthaler became known as a standard on which other coins were measured.  And because Joachimsthaler is really really hard to say or write, this was eventually shortened to "thaler" in everyday speech.  From the German-Czech spelling of "thaler" it was just a short jump to the modern English, "dollar."

And that's today's Amaaaaaaazing Etymology.

Way better than having the queen's face on all your sickles, knuts and galleons....

1 comment:

Frankie Diane said...

How interesting- I like this new feature.

P.S. I'm your first official blog follower:-)