Successful word-coinages—those that stay in lingual currency for a good, long time—tend to conceal their beginnings. In The Hidden History of Coined Words, author and word sleuth Ralph Keyes explores the etymological underworld of terms and expressions and uncovers plenty of hidden gems; knickers, for example, resulted from a hoax; big bang from an insult. Casual wisecracking produced software, crowdsource, and blog.
Surprised yet? Take our quiz and see how many hidden histories you know!