November 2017

Etymology: Masthead

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.

rigging on old sailing ship web

It does sound nautical, doesn’t it, and indeed masthead as used in newspapers today does come from the mast on a ship. This name for the top of the mast, which was where the ship’s identifying flag was flown, was used as far back as the 15th century.

By the 1830s, it was also being used in the USA as the name of the title or motto of a newspaper or journal. In Australia and the UK, that is still what we mean by masthead today. However, in Webster’s New International Dictionary of the English Language, published in 1934, masthead was defined along the lines of what Australian and UK English call the imprint: the details of the publisher and publication. That is the definition used in the USA today.

Divided by a common language once again.

Margie Beilharz

Typo of the Month

Home Beautiful labelled all the other pendant lights correctly – #editing in the doctor’s waiting room :) 

HomeBeautifulMag pendnat