In the closing scene of The Lost Heiress, my hero is observing that someone has become a bit of a celebrity…so naturally, I had to look it up to make sure that it was in use like that in 1911.
I discovered that celebrity comes directly from the Old French and Latin word that means “a celebration.” Not surprising when you look at the words, right? So from 1400 to about 1600, it means “a solemn rite or ceremony.” Then it shifted to mean “condition of being famous.” Not the person, mind you, but the condition. So a person would have celebrity, they would not be a celebrity.
That “be” meaning didn’t come along until 1849–when it came to mean “a famous person.” So safe for my 1911 speaker, to be sure. Phew! 😉
On Colonial Quills today, you’ll find a guest review of Circle of Spies and a giveaway with it! The review is written by a reader from Goodreads, and if you enjoyed the book, I’d love it if you’d drop by and chime in! Read the Review & enter to win!
Fascinating history. I had not realized that word was quite that old.