Monday, May 2, 2016
Word of the Week - Kiwi
Last week after hearing someone from New Zealand refer to themselves as a Kiwi, my hubby got curious as to where that word came from. So I obligingly looked it up. ;-)
Apparently the first thing to earn the name was the bird native to New Zealand. It's an imitative word, so imagine these little, flightless birds saying, "ki-wi. Ki-wi." (Which makes total sense.) It had been a Maori word for who knows how long, adopted into English in 1835.
During Word War I, New Zealand soldiers began to be called kiwis, and from there it branched out to include all NZers.
Now, in America we associate kiwi with a very delicious little fruit. ;-) This is very new! They began to be imported to the US from NZ in 1966, and so we called them "kiwi fruit" because "kiwi" described where they came from. In New Zealand, they obviously don't call them that--they call them, instead, "Chinese gooseberries." (That right there rates a big ol' "REALLY? Who knew?") (UPDATE--I've heard from a few New Zealanders who say they do call the fruit kiwi. So I'm going to assume that it was once called Chinese gooseberry, but not anymore. Or else Etymonline is lying to me.) ;-)
Happy Monday, everyone!