About & Contact

Useless Etymology is a collection of editorialized word histories released in no particular order by Jess Zafarris. It’s possible you’ve read some of my work over on Reddit’s /r/etymology subreddit, the community that first encouraged me to create this website, or on Twitter @UselessEty. The posts vary in length and style, but many include gifs and images of questionable quality.

My usual hard sources are as follows, with inspiration from the Online Etymological Dictionary.

  • The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology
  • Oxford Dictionary of Word Origins (Oxford Quick Reference) by Cresswell, Julia
  • Etymological Dictionary of Modern English by Ernest Weekley
  • The Barnhart Concise Dictionary of Etymology, 1st Edition by Robert K. Barnhart
  • Dictionary of Word Origins: The Histories of More Than 8,000 English-Language Words by John Ayto
  • The Dictionary of American Slang, Subsequent Edition by Robert L. Chapman

Note: I first published many of these writeups on Reddit’s Etymology Subreddit, but they are, in fact, my original work.

About Jess Zafarris

An award-winning innovator of digital content and marketing solutions and a prolific online and print journalist, Jess Zafarris is the Executive Director, Marketing & Communications for Gotham Ghostwriters. Previously, she served as Digital Content Director and Director for Writer’s Digest and ScriptMag, and she still occasionally writes for WD. Her nine years of experience in digital and print content direction and marketing include such roles as editor-in-chief of HOW Design magazine and online content director of HOW and PRINT magazine, as well as writing for the The Hot Sheet, Denver Business Journal, ABC News, and the Memphis Commercial Appeal. She spends much of her spare time researching curious word histories and writing about them at UselessEtymology.com. She is currently writing a book for Callisto Media. Follow her at @jesszafarris or @uselessety on Twitter.

Find me on Twitter at @UselessEty, or use the contact form below.