Monday, June 6, 2011

Word of the Week - Passport

Passport - it's pretty literal. "The authorization to pass through a port." Not surprising, right? What surprises me is that the word (and hence the concept of a noun to embody it) is from around 1500. I had no idea it was that old!

(The one in the picture is French, from 1684)

Now, this is interesting to me because for the book I'm researching, time and again it comes up that people need passes. They need passes to go freely around a city held by one military. They need passes to get from one side of the lines to the other. They need passes to move freely through enemy-held land.

More amazing? You could get those passes, LOL. Which is to say, I find it funny that you can get a pass to travel through enemy territory. But then, it was usually because you were a normal, everyday person about normal, everyday business, with nothing to do with the conflict.

This is also on my mind because this week I'm getting a passport for the first time in my life. =) Heading to Niagara Falls for our anniversary trip, but also now thinking of all the other places we can go without stopping to realize, "Oh, but we'd need a passport." Not that we necessarily will travel more, but it's a freedom I love to savor. =)

I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend!

2 comments:

  1. There's a whole world out there to be visited! And it'll give you nice story ideas ;-)

    What surprised me is that the word/concept is around for only 500 years. Though beaurocratic, the passport is one of those things I take for "normal", like money and taxes. So I would have thought it to be around for much, much longer. Interesting.

    Have fun at Niagara Falls!

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  2. The concept may very well be older, Sascha! But not many English words are older than that. =) It's not that old a language, LOL.

    And you know, Sicily is one step closer once we have those passports . . . !

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