You probably don’t know where most of the words in the English language come from. And by and large that doesn’t make much difference – most words have fairly predictable and non-offensive origins. But unfortunately, there’s a select few words lingering out there that don’t have such an innocent past.
We first delved into words with offensive origins here. But there are so many more out there. Here’s a look at some more words that were considered pretty offensive back in the day.
OK this one is still somewhat offensive in certain contexts, but it’s often seen as a more “acceptable” expletive. However, its original offence has an additional tone of racism to it. The term comes from the old French Bougre, a term used to identify undesirable Bulgarians in the early 10th Century. Nowadays, the term has nothing to do with Bulgarians. But it appears that the heresy and sodomy that original 10th Century French speakers associated with the Bulgarians has now become associated with the word we once used to describe them.
The word ‘uppity’ is generally used these days to describe someone who’s self-important, arrogant or haughty. More specifically, however, the original definition was a little more nuanced than that, meaning anybody who acted in the manner of a higher social class than they were born.
More specifically, it referred to African-Americans who were considered to be acting above their station.
This hasn’t been offensive in such a long time that it barely even merits a place on this list – but it’s interesting enough that we thought we’d slip it in, if only because it gives us an insight into how offensive terminology evolves.
The term vandal wasn’t always an insult or destructive act. It once referred to the Vandals, a tribe of Dark Age East Germanic peoples, who were propelled to infamy after their sacking of Rome. They were, in effect, the barbarians at the gates. So pervasive was their destruction of Rome that destruction itself has since been described with their name. The name of a similar East Germanic tribe, the Goths, has since come to have similarly negative connotations.
Language translation services
Once used to describe only the finest native translators in the industry, the term language translation services has since sadly been sullied by the likes of Google Translate and other automatic translation providers – with disastrous results.
Luckily, you can rescue this one by making sure you trust the expert language translation service team here at Bubbles for your next translation. Find out more here.