yo-yo (n.)

1915, apparently from a language in the Philippines. Registered as a trademark in Vancouver, Canada, in 1932, the year the first craze for them began (subsequent fads 1950s, 1970s, 1998). Copyrighted by Donald F. Duncan in 1933 for the "Flores Yo-yo Company". This copyright moved to Papa's Toy Co. Ltd. when it bought out the former in 1965, but it was later determined that the trademark was improperly issued, so it's fine to use the word now.The toy itself is much older and was earlier known as bandalore (1802), a word of obscure origin, "but it was from American contact…

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buffalo (n.)

1580s (earlier buffel, 1510s, from French), from Portuguese bufalo "water buffalo," from Medieval Latin bufalus, variant of Latin bubalus "wild ox," from Greek boubalos Originally the name of a kind of African antelope, later used of a type of domesticated ox in southern Asia and the Mediterranean lands, a word of uncertain origin. It appears to contain bous "ox, cow" (from PIE root *gwou- "ox, bull, cow"), but this is perhaps a folk-etymology association.Wrongly applied since 1630s to the American bison. The second definition is a little more obscure but still utilized daily: "to intimidate or bully". This most likely…

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Gringo

gringo (n.)Term for a European or Anglo-American, 1847, from American Spanish gringo "foreigner," from Spanish gringo "foreign speech, unintelligible talk, gibberish," perhaps ultimately from griego "Greek." The "Diccionario Castellano" (1787) says gringo was used in Malaga for "anyone who spoke Spanish badly," and in Madrid for "the Irish." Hence the American Spanish verb engringarse "to act like a foreigner."With all of the current discussion on woke-ism and racism, I thought I'd delve into the history of some of these terms and how they came about.Kind of interesting that gringo (which I have been called quite a bit in my part…

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