Twitter completely ruined the best verb for describing excited sounds at nature, but, at the same time, you have to give them kudos for thinking up such an apt name. It perfectly matches the fast, light pace the website's intended to run at. But how did it get to be that word in particular? Well, when Jack Dorsey and his co-founders were originally fishing around for names, they wanted something to reflect a "short burst of inconsequential information", in his own words. Options such as Jitter and Twitch were both floated until someone, already in the Tw- section of the dictionary, stumbled upon Twitter and it was an instant hit. Interestingly, the company didn't come up with the word tweet; they originally wanted to call the posts "status updates", but users latched on to it as it became an unexpected hit. The word twitter comes from Proto-Germanic twitwizona, which is very likely onomatopoeic in origin.
In similar news, it's the one-year anniversary of the Etymology Nerd on Twitter! Check out @etymology_nerd if you haven't already!
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.