When I recently watched the movie The Hateful Eight, it struck me as odd that there is a rest stop named Minnie's Haberdashery. Apart from being a word I didn't know, a haberdashery is a place that sells the goods of a haberdasher, or someone who sells small items. When this word was originally used in the 1300s, it implied the peddling of hats and purses particularly. The term was originally thought to be Norse, but because etymologists couldn't find connections to any of the Scandinavian languages, the going theory is that haberdasher comes from the Anglo-Norman word habertas, meaning "small goods"; that in turn is of unknown origin. Haberdash also became a verb for a brief time in the seventeenth century as a back-formation of haberdasher, and all forms of the word have been declining in usage over time.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a 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.