As someone who's only ever lived in the twenty-first century, I was surprised that the name for the telecommunications company Verizon predated me by only one year. After the Bell telephone monopoly broke up into seven "baby bells" in 1984, the "Bell Atlantic" wing survived on its own for a couple of decades through mergers and growth into nearby states. After acquiring GTE, however, they were looking to rebrand, so they took on the name "Verizon", which was a strategically chosen to be a portmanteau of the Latin word veritas, meaning "truth", and the English word horizon. Kind of a boilerplate corporate name, really, but still very interesting. Veritas, which can be conjugated to verus (also meaning "real"), comes from the Proto-Italic word weros and the Proto-Indo-European word weh, both with the same meaning. Horizon, meanwhile, will be covered in my next blog post. Stay tuned!
Adam Aleksic is a 221-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