Your web-browser is very outdated, and as such, this website may not display properly. Please consider upgrading to a modern, faster and more secure browser. Click here to do so.
Occasionally people make the mistake of asking me where a word comes from. They never make this mistake twice… A chap once asked me where the word biscuit came from. He was eating one at the time and had been struck by curiosity.
I explained to him that a biscuit is cooked twice, or in French bi-cuit, and he thanked me for that. So I added that the bi in biscuit is the same bi that you get in bicycle and bisexual, to which he nodded. And then, just because it occurred to me, I told him that the word bisexual wasn’t invented until the 1890s and that it was coined by a psychiatrist called Richard von Krafft-Ebing and did he know that Ebing also invented the word masochism?
He told me firmly that he didn’t.
Did he know about Mr. Masoch, after whom masochism was named? He was a novelist and…
The fellow told me that he didn’t know about Mr. Masoch, that he didn’t want to know about Mr. Masoch, and that his one ambition in life was to eat his biscuit in peace.
(from The Etymologicon by Mark Forsyth)
I ASPIRE TO BE MARK FORSYTH