Not happy inspiration here, as I thought to wonder about the word as I was typing it into a description of what happened to my computer for the second time in a week–thoroughly and completely went kaput on me [grumble, grumble, growl, growl].

But the word itself is rather interesting!

It traces its first appearance in English back to the 1890s but really entered common usage during WWI–it being taken from the German kaputt. (I had no idea it was that old.) It means “to utterly ruin or destroy,” and it’s said that in the early days of the war and German victories, “everything enemy was kaput.”

The German word, however, is actually presumed to be borrowed from the French. As early as the 1640s, the Germans took the French phrase faire capot–taking all the tricks in a card game–and flipped it, so that it reflected the negative rather than the positive side of winning/losing so completely.

So all in all, a very interesting word. And a terrible thing to happen to one’s computer. 😉

Don’t forget that tonight is my last Facebook chat on the Ladies of the Manor Series! I’ll be taking next week off while on my writing retreat, then pick up again May 8.

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