Posted by Shae on June 24, 2003
In Reply to: NEWS posted by Bob on June 24, 2003
: : Need to verify .
: : The word, term 'news', was it derived from court jesters announcing, "tidings from the North- East - West and South. ?
: No. Just the reports of items that are new.
: People love to invent "folk etymologies," fanciful derivations of words, particularly if they can "invent" an acronym after the fact that seems plausible. News, golf, posh, and many other words have been "explained" by such inventions. It's sometimes difficult to separate fact from fiction here, because there have, indeed, been many words created from acronyms, such as "radar."
From the archives:
: It's a word that dates back to the 1400's, and derives from the word new, as in new information. No, it is NOT an acronym for North East West South, a folk etymology with no basis in fact.
Right you are. "...'News is conveyed by letter, word or mouth; And comes to us from North, East, West and South.' Contrary to the old rhyme above, which helped popularize the myth, the word 'news' wasn't coined from the first letters of the points of the compass. The word was originally spelled 'newes' and derives from the Old English word 'niwes,' meaning 'new.' The legend possibly originated with old newspapers printing a replica of the globe with compass points in their masthead. But the word is much older than the earliest newspapers." From "Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins" by Robert Hendrickson (Fact on File, New York, 1997).