We sometimes call the Republican Party the GOP, which some people know is an acronym for Grand Old Party. but why do we do that? That's a terribly old-fashioned thing to say, isn't it? Indeed, the phrase referring to Republicans does date back to 1876 (exactly twenty years after the formation of the party). As a matter of fact, it was kind of fashionable to say grand old at the time; even the Democrats used that nickname until the late 1800s, only the Republican one survived to today. Initially, people wanted the name to reflect the values of civic virtue, and used it interchangeably with gallant old party. In a 2011 poll, 35% of respondents thought GOP meant "government of the people", so there's a lot of misinformation going around about the acronym. Some interesting side notes: the color red wasn't really associated with the Republican Party until 2000, when the TV networks simultaneously used it to portray states won by George Bush, and the elephant was first used as a symbol in an 1874 political cartoon.
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.