I learned a fun fact from my Princeton college interviewer today! Apparently facetious is one of only two words in the English language to have all the vowels in alphabetical order (the other being abstemious, and, as a bonus, both can take the -ly suffix to fit the "sometimes y" rule). This beautiful word for "unserious" (often at inopportune occasions) came from French facetieux in the 1590s, the root being facetie, or "joke". This in turn derives from the Latin adjective facetus, which could mean anything from "witty" to "elegant", but mostly similar to the modern definition. Where that comes from is actually a bit of a mystery. The going theory is that it's somehow related to the Latin word for "torch", facis, through the Proto-Indo-European reconstruction gehk, "to shine", but that's really sort of a stretch.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a rising junior 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.