As time pass on, words take on newer meanings and new words are added to the dictionary. Did you know that the word girl was used to refer to boys and girls? and that alcohol meant eye shadow?
See 10 more words that now mean something different from what they meant before
- A blockbuster was originally a bomb
In some instances, the original meaning of a word might be hiding in plain sight, and this is one of them: a blockbuster is literally a bomb large enough to destroy an entire block of buildings. In this sense, the first blockbusters were produced by the RAF during the second word war, the very earliest of which – weighing an impressive 4,000lb – was dropped on the German city of Emden during an air raid in March 1941. The wartime press was quick to pounce on the nickname “blockbuster”, and soon it was being used figuratively to describe anything and everything that had an impressive or devastating effect. The military connotations gradually disappeared after the war, leaving us with the word we use today.
- Girl was originally a girl or boy
When Geoffrey Chaucer wrote of the “young girls of the diocese” in the prologue to the Canterbury Tales in the late 1300s, he wasn’t just talking about young women. Back when the word “girl” first appeared in the language, in the Middle English period, it was used to mean “child”, regardless of the gender of the child in question. That didn’t begin to change until the early 15th century, when the word “boy” – thought to have been borrowed into English from French around a century earlier as another name for a slave, or a man of lowly birth – began to be used more generally for any young man. As boy encroached on its meaning, girl was forced to change or else risk disappearing from the language altogether. Read more