Martin Luther King Jr. Day Word Origins

Dream is from the Old English word dream meaning "noise, music" or "joy, mirth." The catch-phrase American dream came into use in 1931 ("If the American dream is to come true and to abide with us, it will, at bottom, depend on the people themselves." – James Truslow Adams) and described the American ideal of social equality and economic prosperity.

Freedom and free are from Old English freo, related, significantly, to Sanskrit priya, "dear," which was the primary original sense of free as an adjective. Therefore, it meant "belonging to one's family or clan, not being a slave." Freedom as "personal liberty" was first used in Old English freodom. In the United States, our freedoms are protected by the amendments to the Constitution.

Civil rights in the United States specifically addresses the rights of Black people as citizens. The term was first used in this way in 1874. Civil derives from Latin civis, "citizen," which passed into English via civilis, "of or pertaining to citizens." Civil law is that which regulates the private rights and duties of the inhabitants of a city or state.

Race was originally used to denote a group with common features, a group connected by common descent or origin. The word is derived from Italian razza.

Etymologically, an assassin is an "eater or smoker of hashish," from Arabic hasisi. During the Crusades, there was a sect of Muslim fanatics who, under the influence of hashish, killed Christians and other enemies. In Arabic, they were called hashshashin, "hashish eaters." In English, this plural form was perceived as singular assassin, "one who kills a public figure for political or religious rather than personal motives." The verb assassinate is from the Medieval Latin verb assassinare, "to kill."







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