According to the official Crayola website, the name Crayola comes from two French words: craie, meaning "chalk", and ola, meaning "oil". An oddly appropriate moniker. Craie, also the origin of crayon itself, comes from Latin creta (with the same meaning), from cernere, a verb meaning "to shift" (possibly to do with the extraction of chalk), which, through Proto-Italic, traces to the Proto-Indo-European reconstruction krey, meaning something more like "to sift". Meanwhile, we've already encountered the suffix, -ola, in the post on Canola oil. It most probably comes from the Ancient Greek word elaia, which meant "olive", from whence many types of oils were derived. While it's possible that this may be of a Proto-Indo-European origin, it is also quite possible that it's not, and it's actually from some Pre-Mediterranean language.
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.