The word hybrid was first used in the English language in a 1601 translation of Pliny the Elder's Natural History by English physician Philemon Holland, but it didn't achieve widespread usage until the mid-nineteenth century. It came from the Latin word hybrida, which meant "mongrel" and was particularly applied to the offspring of pigs and boars. Hybrida was a bit of a hybrid word, as it came from the earlier Latin word ibrida but the spelling was influenced by the Ancient Greek word hubris (with a definition of "outrage", not the "pride" meaning we associate with it today). Ibrida has an uncertain etymology. The first part of the word is thought to derive from a Proto-Indo-European word reconstructed as ud and meaning "outward", but linguists still haven't identified the root of the term. Use of hybrid as an adjective began in 1716, and the "partially electrical vehicle" meaning is from 2002.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.