The phrase fascist has a curiously inappropriate origin. The term as we know it comes from Benito Mussolini's intolerant partito nazionale fascista, or "Italian National Fascist Party". While we can disregard the first two words as irrelevant, the third meant "group or association" back then, without the racist undertones of today. This comes from a very literal origin, from the word fascio, meaning "bunch" or "bundle" (since a group is a "bunch" of people "bundled" together by common beliefs), and going backward to Latin, it narrows even more to fascis, or "bundle of sticks". If this sounds familiar to vulgar speakers, it should, because that same word went into French as fagot, and from that it added a g into English as the curse word now meaning "homosexual" (since one was rudely and inaccurately considered a "burden", like a bunch of sticks). Anyway, these two words met at the Latin term fascis, which came from Proto-Italic faski ("bundle"), and both are ultimately from the Proto-Indo-European word bhasko, meaning "band or bundle". In any case, it's at least whimsical to see such a racist word sharing roots with a homophobic word, though neither were originally rude.
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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.