I absolutely love getting notes from readers, especially when they’re about word usages…even if they tell me I’m using something incorrectly, LOL. I make mistakes just like anybody, of course, but when someone points something out to me, I immediately go and look it up, soaking up everything I can about it.

And I was pretty surprised to learn the history of the word option!

It’s been a noun in the English language since around 1600, but at that point in history, it meant “the action of choosing,” and then “the freedom of choosing.” The word came to us from the French with its roots in the Latin optio, meaning “free choice.” It wasn’t until 1885 that it came to meant “the THING that may be chosen” (emphasis mine), which is how we primarily use it today. Who knew that was so new??

The sense of the word that we get in phrases like stock option joined the fun as far back as 1755, and the verb in that sense is from 1880.

(For the record, the setting in which I was using option in the modern sense was 1906, so I was probably safe to do so…though I was worried for a moment, fearing I’d had it in my 1860s Dreams of Savannah! And wouldn’t be surprised if I had…sometimes I just don’t think to question things!)