• Print

deriving from the Greek for 'true' (eteos/etymos) and 'word' (logos)

Curious about the origin of a word or term? Send it to us and we shall go forth and investigate.

One of your editors is fortunate enough to have a son in VCE this year. For those of you who can barely remember your high school years, it might be a surprise that students can now choose a subject called English Language. Here's a quick snapshot of what is covered:

  • The use of metalanguage to describe and analyse structures, features and functions of language in a range of contexts
  • The analysis of linguistic features of written and spoken English in a range of registers
  • The relationships between language and identities in society
  • Differing attitudes to varieties of Australian English
  • Contemporary discussions and debate about language
  • Writing clearly organised responses with controlled and effective use of language appropriate to the task

Future editors in the making!

When we needed a quick etymology written for this month's newsletter, a potential contributor was literally right in front of our eyes.


The word boycott comes from the ostracism of Captain Charles Boycott by the Irish Land League after he refused to lower rents for his tenant farmers. Boycott was a land owner and agent of Lough-Mask in County Mayo, and his last name became the term for ostracism of a position of power. The term was adopted by newspapers and reporters as far flung from County Mayo as Japan and China and is now used internationally.

Oscar Shuter