Ten ‘Modern’ Words with Older Literary Connections


Interesting Literature

If you think ‘totes’, ‘fangirl’, and ‘trick out’ are recent idioms, then we’re here to surprise you. In a previous post on Twitter terms and literature we uncovered some of the ancient literary origins of words more commonly associated these days with the world of social networking. Now, in this new list, we consider ten words which have grown in popularity in recent years, but which have literary origins or histories stretching back many decades, and in some cases many centuries. Unless stated otherwise, all citations are to be found in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED).

1. Totes. The word ‘tote’ meaning ‘the total amount’ is first found in print in a volume of essays from 1772: ‘That this was the whole tote of his case is notoriously known.’ Meanwhile, ‘totes’ is recorded from 1887 in the sense of ‘total abstainer’ in E. J. Mather’s book Nor’ard of Dogger: ‘The…

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