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Word for Wednesday: Cricket

I am not a cricket person, but my family are a cricket family. This means that for the duration of the World Cup my family group chat will read more like a sports commentary. Since I was Googling the rules of the game anyway, I thought I might as well investigate the origins of the word too.

Cricket is a homonym – it has multiple meanings. In one context it describes a grasshopper-like insect, and in another it refers to the ball game my family are so obsessed with. The word is also sometimes used to describe a type of footstool.

In reference to the insect, cricket dates back to around 1500 and comes from the Old French ‘criquer’ meaning ‘to creak , rattle, crackle’. Before then, in its earliest uses, the word described a mythical fire-dwelling salamander.

The origin of the word in relation to the ball game is unclear, though it has been used in English since at least 1851. One theory is that it also comes from the Old French ‘criquet’ meaning ‘goal post, stick’, from the Middle Dutch/Flemish ‘cricke’ meaning ‘stick, staff’. ‘Cricke’ may also be the root of the word 'crutch'.  

Do you follow the cricket? Who are you supporting in the World Cup? Let us know in the comments.

19 Jun 2019
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