Taylor Made: Origins
Many common English nouns originate from a description of the action the object performs—for example, washer, dryer, heater. Some of these words have since become outdated or have been replaced. Even though we don’t use them much anymore, some of these words are interesting to think about.
A “Nickelodeon” was originally a movie theater where the admission price was a nickel. Later, jukeboxes that operated for a nickel became known as Nickelodeons. Nickelodeon is now commonly known as the name of a TV channel.
A baby stroller was once called a “perambulator.” This name came about from the original use of the word perambulator, which was for a mechanical machine used to measure distances along the ground. Comprised of a large wheel on a stick, it measured distance by counting the revolutions of the wheel. Another archaic word for stroller is go-cart.
A coffee maker used to be called a “percolator.” To percolate means to filter gradually through a porous surface or substance, e.g. to filter hot water through ground coffee, so this is another word that directly describes the action performed by the device.
To “glaciate” meant to freeze—think “glaciers.” “Glacier” came from the French word “glace,” meaning ice, which came from the Latin word “glacies.”
Before automotive machines, we relied heavily on animals like horses and oxen for transportation. It was only natural that steam engine trains became known as “iron horses,” and early cars were often called “horseless carriages.”
The peregrine falcon gets its name from the word “peregrinate,” which means to travel. It’s a fitting name considering that this falcon is known as one of the most widespread bird species in the world and can be found in six continents.
Interesting fact: The word “champaign” means open, level countryside, indicating that Champaign was also given a descriptor for a name.