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Where did "Sandwich" Come From?

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    Read the following passage about where the word "sandwich" originated to gain more background information.


    Where Did We Get That Word?


    The dancer put a cardigan sweater over her leotard. Then she sat down to eat a sandwich.  Cardigan, leotard, sandwich—where did these words come from? Did you know that each of them was a person’s name? Words that come from proper names are called eponyms, and there are many eponyms in English.


    The sandwich, for example, was named for John Montagu, the Earl of Sandwich. He lived from 1718–1792. He loved to play cards and did not want to stop a game even to eat. By putting cold meat between two pieces of bread, he could eat while he played.

    The cardigan sweater was named for an officer in the British army. In the 1800s, James Thomas Brudenell, the Earl of Cardigan, spent his own money to buy special knitted jackets for the men in his regiment. Knitted jackets with buttons soon came to be called cardigans.

    Jules Leotard was a French circus performer. In 1859, at the age of twenty-one, Leotard performed the first mid-air somersault. He became known as the “daring young man on the flying trapeze.” Leotard invented a close-fitting one-piece suit to wear when he performed. Dancers and acrobats still call their close-fitting garments leotards.

    Another person who gave her name to a style of clothing was Amelia Bloomer. Bloomer was the editor of a magazine called The Lily. American women in her day were expected to wear heavy skirts that dragged on the floor. In 1851, a young woman named Elizabeth Smith Miller introduced a new kind of clothing that was much easier to move around in. She wore a dress that came only to the knees. Under it she wore baggy pants that fitted close at the ankles. Amelia Bloomer published a picture of the outfit in The Lily. She hoped women would adopt the new style. In news stories, reporters called the pants “bloomers.” A hundred years later, people were still using the word bloomers for pants worn under a dress.


    There are many other words that come from people’s names. The diesel engine was named for its inventor, Rudolf Diesel. The word boycott comes from the name of an English landlord named Charles Boycott. Where each word came from is a story in itself. Who knows, maybe your name will become a word someday.



    Where did "Sandwich" Come From? is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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