01 December 2008

Origins of bicycle, taxicab and train

How about a few words about transportation? Something we all take for granted ... until there is a strike and we are stranded in the snow. Or, in modern day circumstances, Thai airport.

Cab (taxicab)

Apparently this was an old Italian word, referring to, of all the things, a goat!

Apparently the old bouncy carriages was reminiscent of young and free goats, running amok.


This seems to be derived from the noun version of train, meaning a procession or pulling of something or the other.

The reference to a means of transport using the good old railways dates back to 1824, much later than the generic 'draw', 'pull' references.


Huh. This word has quite a strange background.

Alright, so there is the reference to two + wheels, yada yada, etc.

What got my attention was the penny farthing: bicycle with a small wheel in back and a big one in front. The one we all know and love (or hate) today was called a safety bicycle, dating back to 1877.

Etymology Online
Etymologically Speaking