12 Words That Secretly Come From Body Parts

While I didn’t write this, I found it too interesting to let it slip by without sharing. So here you are!

From Merriam-Webster’s blog:

#1: Sarcasm

Definition: a keen or bitter taunt : a cutting gibe or rebuke often delivered in a tone of contempt or disgust

About the Word:

Sarcasm, that verbal flourish beloved by supercilious people the world over, has the sort of origin that makes other words jealous. It is descended ultimately from the ancient Greek word sarkazein, which means…

… ‘to tear flesh like dogs’ (or also ‘to bite the lips in rage’ or ‘to speak bitterly’).


“However much her character and mode of life might be reprobated, few were willing to offend her by their expostulations or remarks; and she attained a sort of ascendancy, which the fear of her sarcasm and her crutch alike combined in enabling her to maintain.” — James Peterson (Editor), The Contemporaries of Burns, 1840

— Ammon Shea

#2: Disheveled

Definition: marked by disorder or disarray

About the Word:

Some words travel far afield from their roots as they make their way through the millennia. Nice, for instance, is descended from the Latin word nescius, meaning ignorant. Others, such as disheveled, hew closer to their original meaning, while changing enough semantic content to keep things interesting. Disheveled comes from the past participle form of the Old French word descheveler, which means …

… ‘to disarrange the hair.’


“But at the moment, to our astonishment, Theodore whipped away the screen and revealed Kralefsky, slightly purple of face and disheveled, standing free in a pool of ropes and chains.” — Gerald Durrell, Fauna and Family, 1979

Intrigued? You can read the other 10 body part words here.


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