Clone. It’s a word we all know…and use often enough that most of us probably haven’t given much thought to where in the world it came from. And once you pause to think it through, you’re probably still shrugging, am I right? That short little word doesn’t give us a lot of clues!

In fact, the word clone comes from a Latinized form of the Greek klon, which means…”a twig.”

Yep. That’s right. A twig. Klon is related to klados, which means “an offshoot or young branch.” Which helps the lightbulb start to go on a bit. Especially when you realize that the English word “clone” was first created by botanists in 1903. A “clone” was a plant grown from a clipping of another plant, so that it was identical to it.

Ahh, now it’s making sense! These plant “clones” were groups of trees or flowers or bushes etc all identical to the parent plant from which the clippings were taken. And that was the sole meaning of the word until the 1970s, when people began to apply it to other living things that were genetically identical to another as well.

So there we go! Based on a very old Greek word but with a very new meaning.

Word Nerds Unite!

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