I’m sure we’ve all noticed that history and story look mighty similar. Well, for good reason–they’re both taken directly from the same French word, estoire or estorie,which came in turn from Latin and Greek. The literal meaning is “a chronicle of events,” and has been the meaning pretty much forever.

It took on its “fictional” connotation–a tale meant to entertain–around 1500. Even then, story and history were still used fairly interchangeably for quite a while. And it wasn’t until around 1690 that the word first appeared as a euphemism for a lie. It was first applied to “a newspaper article” around 1892.

Another interesting tidbit is the other definition of story–a floor of a building. This is from the same root word, and historians’ best guess as to why is that in the Middle Ages, the few buildings that had multiple stories with windows would have had stained glass or painted windows, which of course depicted…you guessed it! Stories. How fun is that?

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