Whenever a politician or celebrity gets tricked into a scandal, it's etymologically appropriate. Scandal is a direct borrowing from the Middle French word scandale, which may be traced to the Latin word scandalum (meaning "temptation"), from the Greek word skandalon, which had the curious and lengthy definition of "a trap laid for an enemy" and since traps resulting in scandal often involve temptations, you can see hiw all this fits together. However, earlier on, this "trap" took on a more literal meaning and skandalon was actually used in reference to a specific type of spring-loaded trap. Since this trap made things shoot high up, it is therefore unsurprising that skandalon gies back to the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European root skand, or "to jump". Interestingly enough, the Latin word scandalum that we visited earlier also created another French word, escalandre, which meant "a scandalous statement" and is in fact the progenitor of our word slander. I love etymology!
Adam Aleksic is a 220-month-old, 2800-ounce high school senior with disturbing interests in etymology, vexillology, geography, board games, limericks, and law. Adam will be studying linguistics at Harvard College in the fall.
The Etymology Nerd