Word for Wednesday: Hazard

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When I began this week’s post, I felt sure ‘hazard’ would come from scientific origins – perhaps because I most associate the word with the yellow stickers that were affixed to dangerous equipment and chemicals in my school’s science labs.

Hazard’ was actually the name of a chance game played with dice and the word dates back to the fourteenth century. It comes from the French ‘hasard’ or ‘hasart’ which means ‘game of chance played with dice’ or ‘a throw of six in dice’. Though we are uncertain of the origins of this French game, one theory is that its name comes from the Spanish ‘hazar’ meaning ‘an unfortunate card or throw at dice’, which in turn may come from the Arabic ‘az-zahr’ meaning ‘the die’. ‘Zahr’, however, does not appear in classical Arabic dictionaries.

Hazard’ was first used to mean ‘chance of loss or harm, risk’ in the 1540s.

Another word that was first used to refer to an object is ‘clue’ – find out what here.

Have a good week!

Avani Shah

Source: etymonline.com

21 Oct 2015
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