FIVE WORDS WITH NEW MEANINGS
The Latin word decem meant tenth. To decimate meant to kill one-tenth of a military unit if there was a mutiny or disobedience of some sort. The word decimal has its origins here. Even the month of Dec-ember was originally the 10th month in the Roman calendar.
Now it means widespread destruction and is not limited to being only a tenth.
Actually means “occurring by chance.” The Latin word for “chance” is fors.
But in the last 100 years it has changed to a common meaning of being “lucky” or “fortunate.”
Still used to describe the puffy things that float in the sky. But now has a new meaning of that ubiquitous place where your computer data is stored off-site somewhere.
A nautical term to measure the depth of water. A fathom is equal to six feet (1.83 meters). Came from the old English word fæthm, which meant “outstretched arms.” If you stretch your arms out and measure from fingertip to fingertip, it might be close to six feet, depending on who is being measured.
But somehow it came to mean “understanding” or “comprehension.” Maybe it came from the act of “getting to the bottom” of some issue?
In classical Greek, myriad was literally the word for 10,000. Now it has come to mean “a lot.” Some day I will have written a myriad of blog posts. But for now, it’s just a lot of them.