Saturday, April 16, 2011


Map \map\ , noun, verb;
Dating to the 1520's, map is a shortening Middle English mapemounde ("map of the world") which dates to the late 14th century and comes from Middle Latin mappa mundi ("map of the world"). Mappa, meaning "napkin, cloth," is Punic in origin. Mundi, meaning "the world," comes from mundus (figuratively "universe, world," literally "clean, elegant").

Mappa is attested from the late 4th century as a term used by land surveyors, but how exactly it was used is unclear because a surveyor's map in Latin at that time was forma. The transition from "napkin, cloth" to its current meaning is probably related to the fact that maps are sometimes drawn on cloth. The Modern English verb form of map dates to the 1580's and to put something on the map ("bring something to wide attention") is first attested in 1913.

The name MapQuest dates to 1996 and the verb to mapquest dates to 1997.

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