English words for livestock (cow, sheep, chicken) are Germanic-based and the words for meats (beef, mutton, poultry) are French-based. This is because the people who raised the animals were Anglo-Saxon peasants and the people who ate them were Norman aristocrats.
The reason we say “redhead” instead of “orangehead”” for hair color is because English didn’t differentiate between the colors until the 1540s, long after the term was coined.
Yūgen /yoo-gehn/ n. (japanese) is a Japanese word pertaining to a profound awareness of the universe which evokes feelings that are inexplicably deep and too mysterious for words.
The Aboriginal Mbabaram word for dog is “dog”. This type of coincidence is called a “false cognate” and there are many occurrences throughout the world.
“Huh?” is a universal word and is found in roughly the same form and function in spoken languages across the globe.
A nightmare refers to a literal night mare: a “mare” is a demon which gives you bad dreams.
The word Maverick comes from Samuel Maverick, a 19th century Texan who refused to brand his cattle.
The word Saudade, a Portuguese word with no English translation, means the empty sadness and longing for that which may never return that accompanies nostalgia.
The feeling you get when you say a word over and over until it stops sounding like a real word is called Jamais Vu.
Many words used to be spelled phonetically (e.g. debt was ‘det’) until some scholars purposely added silent letters to make them look more like Greek or Latin words, sometimes erroneously.