In 1625, one year before kicking the bucket in a debtor's prison, English cleric Samuel Purchas made an indelible mark on the English language in a four-volume history of the world. That mark was a then-insignificant mention of the fact that Turkish people enjoyed eating a sour milk product named yoghurd. This word soon spread as travelers brought the foodstuff back from their journeys, taking on spellings such as yogourt, joghourt, yahout, yaourt, yahourt, yaghourt, and youart, before settling on yoghurt in British English, yogourt in Canadian English, and yogurt in American English. One reason for all of those variations was a misunderstanding of how to translate the Turkish g, which should sound more like w to English speakers, but a lot of us erroneously pronounced the hard g and it stuck. Through Old Turkic, yogurt traces to a Proto-Turkic word sounding like jowurt and meaning "coagulated milk".
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.