Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Super Tuesday Etymology

“Names, once they are in common use, quickly become mere sounds, their etymology being buried, like so many of the earth's marvels, beneath the dust of habit.” ~ Salman Rushdie

I thought you'd want to know what this day is all about:

1763, Amer.Eng., perhaps from caucauasu "counselor" in the Algonquian dialect of Virginia, or the Caucus Club of Boston, a 1760s social & political club whose name possibly derived from Mod.Gr. kaukos "drinking cup." Another candidate is caulker's (meeting). The verb is from 1850.

1471, "of the first order," from L. primarius "of the first rank, chief, principal, excellent," from primus "first" (see prime (adj.)). Primary color is first recorded 1612; primary school is 1802, from Fr. école primaire.
"The Paris journals ... are full of a plan, brought forward by Fourcroy, for the establishment of primary schools, which is not interesting to an English reader." [London "Times," April 27, 1802]
Primary election is recorded from 1792, with ref. to France; in a U.S. context, recorded from 1835; earlier primary caucus (1821).
From the Online Etymology Dictionary.

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