The Big List

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

This is the list, some 400 word and phrase origins. The words and phrases are selected because their origins are inherently interesting or because some bit of folklore, sometimes true and sometimes false, is associated with the origin. The etymologies of common words with straightforward explanations can be found in any good dictionary and I do not attempt to reproduce them here. Many, if not most, of the words have been added as a result of questions or suggestions from readers of the site.

French fries

French kiss

fringe / lunatic fringe

fritz, on the

frog march

fuck

fudge

full monty

fuzz

G-man

G.I.

gadolinium

gaffe

gallium

galoot

gargoyle

gay

geek

Generation X

genocide

Georgia

germanium

gerrymander

ghost / give up the ghost

gig

give up the ghost

glitch

globalization

Glomar Response / neither confirm nor deny

go yard

God rest you merry, merry

gold

golf

gonzo

Good Friday

goody two-shoes

googol / Google

gospel

gossip

Gotham

graduand

grandfather clause

graphite

graveyard shift

green room

gringo

Grits (Canadian political term)

ground zero

guerrilla

guinea

gun

gung ho

gyp

H-Hour, D-Day

hack / hackney

hacker

hafnium

hag

hahnium

hairbag

Halloween

Hampshire / New Hampshire

handicap

happy as a clam

hard-nosed, soft-nosed, dum-dum

harlot

hassium

hat trick

Hawaii

hawk a loogie

head over heels

heathen

heaven

helium

hell

hell in a handbasket

hell-bent for leather

hello

hermetic seal

hero

high misdemeanor

High Street

highway

hijack

hip hip hooray

hobbit

Hobson’s choice

hocus-pocus

hogan’s goat

Hogmanay

holmium

holt

homecoming

honeymoon

honky / hunky / hunyak / honyock

honyock

hooch / hootchy-kootchy

hoodwink

hook or by crook

hooker

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