Launch: Etymology of the Day

Via French lancher/lancier, launch ultimately comes from the Latin lancea, a “light spear,” which is also the source of lance (except we’re not using spears anymore…). The verb, first attested in the early 1400s, shifted from “hurl” to “send off,” hence boats and, much more scarily, missiles.

Ángel._Puente_Sant'Angelo_01.JPG
Angel with the lance, Ponte Sant’Angelo, Rome. (Wikimedia Commons)

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