The words “apron” and “napkin” were originally “napron” and “apkin” but the preceding indefinite articles (“an” and “a”) were so confusing to the ear that the words eventually just changed.
The word “ok” as we know it today, as a synonym for “alright”, is only about 175 years old. It was originally written as a joke that went viral in 1839 by a Boston editorial writer satirizing people’s bad grammar and use of abbreviations, and was an abbreviation for “oll korrect”.
The Chinese word for “contradiction”, 矛盾, consisting of the characters for “spear” and “shield” respectively, is said to derive from an old tale in which a Chinese merchant proclaimed to sell “spears that could pierce any shield” and “shields that could defend from all spear attacks”.
The word “hobbit” has been found exactly once in texts predating Tolkien, in a list of magical creatures with no explanation or context.
The word “OK” originated in 1839 when a newspaper used it as a funny abbreviation of “oll korrect.”
A witness in a Scottish court who had answered “aye” to confirm he was the person summoned was told by the Sheriff that he must answer either “yes” or “no”. His name was read again and he was asked to confirm it, he answered “aye” again, and was imprisoned for 90 minutes for contempt of court.
The word “robot” was first used in a 1920 play and was derived from the Slavic word for “slave labor.”
“Run” is the word with the most different meanings. The verb-form alone has no fewer than 645 meanings and Peter Gilliver worked for more than nine months to work out all of them.