Although it seems like it could be a new formation, the word latex has been in use since the 1650s. Back then, the term was exclusively stylized with a capital L and referred to clear bodily fluid. By the 1800s, the spelling was standardized and a new definition of "milky liquid secreted by some plants" emerged. Then, in 1930, neoprene was invented, and that was an etymological game-changer: a new meaning of "synthetic rubber" emerged, named after the latex in rubber trees. Usage of the word latex exploded, peaking in 1935 as it became a household noun. The earliest "clear fluid" definition comes (through Latin) from the Ancient Greek word latax, meaning "drop of wine". That is thought to eventually derive from the Proto-Indo-European reconstruction lat, which meant "swamp"; the reasons for both of the semantic shifts are unknown. Spandex was coined on the model of latex as an anagram for expands.
Adam Aleksic, a rising sophomore studying linguistics and government at Harvard University, has been described as the internet's sixth most famous etymologist. He also has disturbing interests in politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, and law.