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Etymology of Tattoo; History Fun Fact Vol. 34

Etymology of Tattoo; History Fun Fact Vol. 34
June 24
12:38 2018

Etymology of Tattoo; The Origin Of The Word:

Etymology, the science of the origins of language and words. Basically it goes into how words were created. Often hidden meanings can be laid bare or you can learn facts about history and culture, you never knew about.
The word tattoo is no exception within this science. We won’t go into a whole lecture, no worries. But we would like to tell you guys the story of how this word originated (if you don’t have time to google it).

As many would know, especially cultures such as the Samoans and Maori. Tattoos have been around for many millennia. However, the word tattoo has not. In fact the word tattoo was created by James Cook, when he (re)discovered tattooing on his travels in Oceania. Until then, tattooing had no universal name (in English).

Be originally named the practice he found among many natives ‘Tattow’, the word that later turned into tattoo.
A word that he based on the Tahitian name for tattooing, ‘Tatau’. But it was only because of Cooks popularity, as well as the power and influence the British had world wide. That made Tattoo the most generally recognized name for the practice, world wide.

Final Comment:

How the Etymology of Tattoo would look without James Cook, we can only speculate. Certainly it would be interesting to see and their might be more cultural differences in regards to what we call the practice of tattooing.
However, thanks to cook, we all recognize the practice in the same way through language, and everyone knows what a tattoo is.

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About Author

Mads

Mads

Mads W. K. Masters of science in Sociology (Cand. Scient. Soc.), from the University of Copenhagen, who specializes in embodiment sociology, but especially in tattoos and tattoo culture etc.

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