This week and next, I’m going to be highlighting a couple words that readers brought up with me. This first one, kudos, led to a great conversation and a delightful new friendship (hi, Pat!). You just never know what may happen when two word-nerds meet! 😉
I actually posted about kudos waaaaay back in 2011, but I figure ten years is time enough to deserve a revisit, LOL. So here we go! Kudos.
I’ve studied Ancient Greek. As in, took 2 years of the language, in addition to reading a slew of the texts. So things Ancient Greek I like–and tend to use. And assume I know pretty well.
And so, I’ve never hesitated to use the word “kudos” in a historical manuscript because, well, I know it’s directly from the Greek. I know it’s old.
But apparently the English didn’t pick up on this fun word until 1799.
Kudos, taken directly from Greek (if altered slightly because of a non-meshing of the alphabets), means “fame, renown.” Though it may sound plural to an English speaker with that -s ending, it is in fact singular.
When kudos first entered our language, it was in academic circles only–among those who would have read the Greek, go figure. =) But by the early 20th century, journalists had picked up on it and began to use it in articles, which entered it into the mainstream. When I did a Google Books search for the word around the year 1900, I found it in all sorts of texts.
So there we have it!