Ever wonder where certain words came from?

It can be a fascinating exercise.

And to save you a trip to the Oxford English Dictionary, here’s a short list of common phrases whose origins in World War 1 you may never have known.

For example:

Basket Case – today we use this phrase to refer to someone who consistently makes dumb mistakes or fumbles under pressure. But the term has a darker, sadder past – it refers to a soldier so badly wounded that he had to be moved from the front lines in a basket… the implication being that he’d lost all four limbs.

Cooties – nowadays is a kind of  “icky-something” children assign to those they don’t like. The term was originally a nickname for head lice or body lice – and it comes from Coot, a bird said to be covered in creepy-crawlies.

Unflappable – this word, first appearing in the 1950s, means a person who can’t be disturbed or rattled under any conditions. It’s derived from an older, WW1 phrase “to be in a flap,” which meant “to be worried” and is thought to be a naval expression based on the restless flapping of birds.

Zigzag – an English word in use since the 1800s meaning an angular, back and forth kind of path or line.  Soldiers in WW1 parlayed the phrase to also mean drunkenness – ala the “which way do I go?!” meandering of someone who’s had a pint or two too many.

Looking back at the history of words can open your eyes to how meanings change over time.  One thing you DON’T want changing though is your dedication to creating a solid financial foundation for your retirement.

Give us a call at 513-563-PLAN (7526) or book online for a complementary portfolio and goals review to make sure you’re not Zigzagging in a direction you don’t want to head.  Call today.

Dan Cuprill, CFP®