It’s time to get technical with one of my favorite things: the beach.

When we say beach today, what do we think of? Generally speaking, the nice sandy shore abutting the ocean or a lake, right.

Turns out…we’re wrong. 😉 Okay, not wrong exactly, but that’s not where the word began. Beach dates from the 1530s as an English word, traced to the Old English bece, which meant not sand but “stream.” Beach itself was derived from that stream association but was used to describe the water-worn pebbles or rocks beside a body of water.

Rocks and stones and pebbles, not sand, per se–and originally that material itself, not the region. In parts of English, beach still refers to pebbles. Fascinating, isn’t it?

Of course, we know that plenty of shores don’t have pebbles but something even smaller–sand. And by the 1590s beach had already begun to be expanded to mean the shore, not just whatever it’s made up of.

And whatever the case, it’s one of my favorite things!

Word Nerds Unite!

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