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European-flavored language

Caddy: From streets to greens

From the French word cadet, meaning the youngest son of a noble, came the English spelling "caddy" in 1630, along with a completely different meaning - a boy who had taken to the streets. By the mid-1700s, a caddy was a young porter (but still on the streets), and then eventually a baggageman who carried golf clubs (a golf caddy).

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The French-to-English connection is said to come from French-born golfer Mary, Queen of Scots, whose cadets were noble-born pages who also happened to carry her clubs.

But, the original term "cadet" was not lost. It still means a student at a military academy since, back then, the youngest sons of nobles often became soldiers.

Bobby: No socks, just cops

One of the most familiar eponyms among the British is the slang word for a policeman. "Bobby" alludes to Sir Robert (Bobby) Peel, who organized the Metro Police Force of London in the early 1800s.

Sir Robert, who was nicknamed Orange Peel for his support of Protestantism, was highly eponymous. His constables were called "peelers" before they were called "Bobby's men," or the familiar "bobbies."

Bobby socks, by the way, have nothing to do with Sir Robert Peel. They were just socks turned over at the ankle, or bobbed.

SOURCES: 'The Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins,' by Robert Hendrickson; The Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins, by William and Mary Morris; and The Barnhart Dictionary of Etymology, by Robert K. Barnhart; 'Why You Say It,' by Webb Garrison; and Dictionary of Word Origins, by Jordan Almond.

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(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society