Why Is It Called "Soccer"?

Even though the british call it "football," the word soccer has English origins. According to SportsPickle, the game was first developed in the Newgate Prison in London in the early 1800s, because prisoners who had their hands cut off for theft crimes wanted a sport that used their feet. Later that century, a form of the game emerged called Association football, which was then shortened to "assoc" before becoming "soccer" by the 1860s. As the game grew in popularity, it became known as football again in England, but the U.S. still calls it soccer today. Hear about the surprising origins of other words below.

Weird Word Origins

The unexpected backstory of some English words.

Key Facts In This Video

  1. As language progresses over time, nouns have a tendency to become verbs. 00:23

  2. Association football emerged in England in the 1800s, which was shortened to the word "soccer" in 1860. 01:18

  3. The name for the root vegetable rutabaga was also once slang for dollars in the 1940s. 02:14

25 Words And Their Surprising Origins

Where does "jumbo" come from and why does it mean large?

Word Origins Hiding In Plain Sight

Sometimes the etymology of a word is right in front of us and we don't even see it.

Written by Curiosity Staff June 4, 2015