I have been fascinated with etymology since I was a child and in looking for something else, I came across this page. I think you will find it most interesting!-A.M.
Origin of Some Words
Satyagraha: It is a Sanskrit term popularized by Gandhi during his non-violent non-co-operation movements . It means any effort to discover, discern, obtain or apply “Satya’ or ‘Truth’ to correct injustice.
Laissez-faire (lɛse fɛr) or laisser-faire is short for “laissez faire, laissez aller, laissez passer,” a French phrase meaning “let do, let go, let pass.”
Elite: From the Latin elire, meaning “to choose,” from which we also get the modern Spanish word meaning the same, elegir.
Slave: After large parts of Slavonia (the current Yugoslavian Federation province of Serbia, as well as portions of surrounding countries) were subjugated by the Holy Roman Empire in the Middle Ages, a Slav became synonymous with someone who lived in servitude. Eventually Slav became slave.
ZERO & Cipher: The term has come down to us in English as cipher, which means “empty” and refers to the zero column in the abacus or counting frame (see “abacus”)(The term has also come down to us as “decipher,” which means “to determine the meaning of anything obscure”).
Woman: From the Old English “Wyfmon,” meaning, “wife.” See Queen
Husband: Comes from the Old German words hus and bunda, which mean “house” and “owner,” respectively. The word originally had nothing to do with marital status, except for the fact that home ownership made husbands extremely desirable marriage partners.
Salary; Salt: In the early days of Rome its soldiers were given a handful of salt each day. The salt ration was subsequently replaced by a sum of money allowing each man to buy his own, and relieving the commisariat of the trouble of transporting it. The money received was referred to as their “salt money” (salarium in Latin).
Eventually, the term would make its way into medieval France, where a soldier’s payment was known as his solde (which is still in use today as the term for a soldier’s or sailor’s pay), and it was in paid for with a special coin called a sol. By extension, the word also came to refer not only to a soldier’s wage, but also to the soldier himself, evidenced by the medieval French term soldat, which itself came from the Old French soudier. For its part, the English word “soldier” comes from the Middle English souder, which also derived from soudier
[Footnote: Contrary to popular belief, salt–necessary as it was and unlike other spices–was never very expensive. It only became expensive towards the end of the twelfth century A.D., when it was used as a means of taxation and people often went without it, as a result–a fact not unconnected with the famines and deficiencies that afflicted so many generations of Europeans at the time].
Right: From the pre-Christian, Germanic term “riht”, which was the sense of justice or balance that tribal elders attempted to achieve when determining the size of the “Bot.” This is not to be confused with peace or “Friede,” which could be achieved with differing amounts of “Bot” and was merely the cessation of fighting. “Riht” was that perfect amount of “Bot” that restored order within the universe and ensured the most long-lasting peace. (See the etymology of “Bot” at the end of the entry of freedom.)
Freedom: This comes from German (literal, modern-day translation, “Freiheit”), but is actually closer in derivation to the German word “Friede”, which means “peace” and is a word of pre-Christian, Germanic origin (originally “Frith”). The archaic term was used to signify the period following the termination of a bloodfeud between two Germanic clans when the softer, feminine qualities of the god “Freda” or “Frita” held sway. To achieve such a peace, some consideration had to given up on the part of the clan whose member had committed the most recent wrong against another clan, such as a certain quantity of meat or animal hides. What was given up was called “Bot” (delivered good) or “Botschaft” (literally delivered shank (of meat), but currently is the modern German word for “message”)
Robot: Robot comes from the Czech word “robot,” which means “worker.” In 1923, Karl Capek, a well-known, Czech, science-fiction writer at the time, wrote a futuristic thriller about a nightmarish scenario in which the machines have taken over (a la, the “Terminator”) and implanted circuitry in humans to make them into mindless zombies willing to serve them as workers or “robots.”
Idea, Ideal, Idol: All from the Greek “idein,” for “to see”; cognates with the Sanskrit “vid” (to know) and Latin “videre” (to see) and the English “wise.” The W/V sound from the Indo-European root was lost in ancient Greek.
Lucifer: Lucifer is Latin for “Light Bringer”. The Hebrew for the same, Haleal, means “adversary.” The passage in Isaiah (the only place in the Old Testament that mentions Lucifer) uses the Hebrew term for the Morning Star (ie, the planet Venus). The passage refers to the King of Babylon sarcastically, saying that he considered himself to be like God, just as the Morning Star is a bright light in the sky, but pales in comparison to the sun.
Light: Related to Licht (German), and Latin “Luna,” meaning, “moon.” “Moonlight” is therefore something like a tautology.
Pagan: A member of a nation or community which does not accept the “true” religion, or does not worship the “true” God; thus, in short, a heathen. In earlier use it meant essentially a non-Christian, and thus included Muslims and even Jews. The word “pagan” comes from the Latin “paganus” which meant villager or rustic; civilian or non-militant and was the direct opposite of “miles”: a soldier or one of the army
Science: The word “science” came from the Latin word for knowledge: scientia. From the 1200’s to until the 1840’s science was known as natural philosophy.