The word spam in modern day society mainly refers to repetitive and often inappropriate or entreating messages on the Internet. Another definition, less used at this point, is a registered trademark of Hormel Foods and a type of processed meat and is written in all caps. The former came from the latter, and it was all because of the wonders of Monty Python, the British comedy show. In the twelfth episode of the second series, a group of Vikings obnoxiously sing the word spam over and over again as a patron claims he doesn't like the meat. More than anything, this shows the pervasiveness of popular media in neologisms, and is proof that most modern words develop like spam did. But what did the original, trademarked SPAM mean? It was an abbreviation of "spiced" and "ham"; something that, unlike the new spam, doesn't exemplify most words, many of which have false abbreviation etymologies.
Adam Aleksic is a 220-month-old, 2800-ounce high school senior with disturbing interests in etymology, vexillology, geography, board games, limericks, and law. Adam will be studying linguistics at Harvard University in the fall.
The Etymology Nerd