Cancel

When it was brought into English in the late fourteenth century, the word cancel used to literally mean “cross out with a line” and it only took its figurative definition of “nullify” in the mid-1600s. Through Anglo-Norman and French, it comes from the Latin word cancellus, meaning “lattice” (a grid of lines), and that’s from the root carcer, meaning “enclosed space” (also present in the word incaration). Finally, carcer derives from the Proto-Indo-European reconstruction kar-kro, meaning something like “circular” or “enclosure”. ​It’s kind of a cool example of etymology in action to observe cancel continue to evolve today: now, it can be applied to people, through the notion of things like TV shows and professional contracts being cancelled once they are exposed for whatever they did.

(via @etymology_nerd)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s