It was a long time ago at this point that my daughter asked me why it was called a neighborhood. At the time, I said something like “Uh . . . well . . . um . . . I don’t know. Why do you think?” We came up with a nice, totally fabricated story about the houses all being pulled together, like under a hood. But I made a mental note to look it up.
Then forgot. LOL. Until now. 😉
First, let it be noted that this isn’t from hood but from -hood. That hyphen makes all the difference. Hood has been “covering” since the days of Old English, when it was spelled/pronounced “hod.” And –hood has meant “state of being” since Old English too, when it was spelled/pronounced “had.” So too different OE words that eventually ended up with the same spelling.
So. This made a major light bulb go off. –Hood, as in, motherhood, spinsterhood, etc. This is where “neighborhood” came from, originally meaning “neighborly conduct, friendliness.” In the 1620s, it came to be applied to a community of people living close together.
Interestingly, it didn’t gain the metaphorical sense (i.e. “Am I close to the answer?” “Eh, you’re somewhere in the right neighborhood”) until 1857.
So next time my kids ask me this question, I’ll have an answer! 😉
Happy Monday!
Print Friendly, PDF & Email