Yesterday, my parents were describing a relative, and they said she was "feisty." Naturally, I had to pipe in with where that word came from (click here for that Word of the Week), and how I just haven't been able to use it ever since discovering its origins.
So my mom asked, "Well then, what about spunky? What are its origins?" I didn't know. So of course, I had to look it up. ;-)
Spunky is a word from 1786 meaning "courageous, spirited," coming directly from spunk, which dates from 1773 with the meaning of "courage, pluck, mettle." But the word itself is from the 1500s, its original meaning being that of "a spark." It's a Scottish word that has its roots in tinder, and I rather like that origin--that courage comes from a word used for what starts a fire. Muuuuuuch better than feisty. ;-)