The word cologne emerged in the mid-nineteenth century as a shortening of the term cologne water, which was a loan-translation of French eau de cologne, which literally means "water from Cologne", the city in Germany where it was first produced. Cologne has a really interesting etymology itself: it was originally named Oppidum Ubiorum ("town of the Ubius tribe") when it was founded in 38 BCE, but in 50 CE Roman emperor Claudius's wife Agrippina the Younger (who was born there) asked for it to be made a colony and it was renamed Colinia Agrippina in her honor. Later, the Agrippina part was dropped and Colognia morphed into the toponym we know today. Colonia traces to the Latin verb colere, meaning "cultivate", and that derives from Proto-Indo-European kel, "to move".
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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.