I figured this was an important post to make on election day. The word election goes back to Latin, and the word legere. This originally meant both "read" and "choose" simultaneously (also the root of lecture). The Romans took its form liegere, added the prefix ex-, and created eliegere, meaning "to pick out" or "select", altogether dropping the "read" part of that because it was too confusing. The noun of action for this word was electionem. In French, this was borrowed an came to be spelled elecion. This then crossed the Channel in the 13th century, with its present meaning and spelling. Another fun election term is that of gerrymander, which means "to manipulate voting districts to favor certain parties". This was primarily a portmanteau of salamander (the shape of a gerrymandered district in Massachusetts) and Governor Elbridge Gerry (the person who did the gerrymandering). Candidate also meant white robed, vote meant wish, and ballot meant small ball. How? You'll have to wait for future posts...
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.