Thursday, April 28, 2011


Credit: Lauren Manning
The origin of jump is uncertain, it seems to have appeared out of nowhere in the 1520's to replace words like leap, bound, and spring. It is possibly onomatopoeic, like bump. Another theory is that it was picked up from the Gallo-Romance dialects of southwestern France in the Hundred Years War. French words like jumba ("to rock, to balance, swing") and yumpa ("to rock") support this theory. There are other Germanic languages that have similar words with similar meanings: German gumpen means "to jump, hop;" Danish gumpe, dialectal Swedish gumpa and Swedish guppa mean "to move up and down;" and Icelandic goppa means "to skip." However, these words postdate jump by 100 years, so they are most likely unrelated.

Jump meaning "to have sex with" dates to the 1630's.
"To attack" is first attested in 1789.
"Jazz music with a strong beat" was first recorded in 1937.
To jump to a conclusion is attested from 1704 (though my favorite usage of the phrase is from 1999 in 'Office Space').  
Jumping-rope dates to 1805.
Telling someone to go jump in a lake is first attested in 1912.
Jump suit is from 1948 and originally referred to the one-piece coveralls worn by paratroopers and skydivers.

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