SSN Commentary

The Strange Etymologies of ‘The Left,’ ‘Liberals,’ ‘Progressives’ and ‘Red Parties’ (Part I)

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University of Central Florida

Originally published as "The Strange Etymologies of ‘The Left,’ ‘Liberals,’ ‘Progressives’ and ‘Red Parties’ (Part I),", May 15, 2021.

Languages, especially their vocabularies, are in constant flux. Like living organisms, they are born and evolve. And although some, such as English, seem immortal, they also die.

New, updated editions of dictionaries include neologisms. This year, for example, Merriam-Webster added 520 new words ranging from BIPOC, abbreviation of "Black, Indigenous, People of Color" to — news to me — "hygge," "a cozy quality that makes a person feel content and comfortable." Even more common is the addition of new meanings for words that already exist: "tweet" or "mouse," to name but two.