The first issue of The New York Times was published 162 years today, and to celebrate we’re taking look at a brief history of some of our favorite newspaper words and slang.
Before newspapers, there were government bulletins. The Acta Diurna or Daily Acts of ancient Rome were carved in metal or stone and posted in public places. In ancient China, tipao, news sheets produced by the government, were “handwritten on silk and read by government officials.”
In 16th century Venice, a monthly notice was published and sold for one gazeta, a small copper coin, which may be where we get gazette, another word for newspaper.
However, gazeta also means “little magpie,” so it’s unclear if we get the word from the paper’s “price or its association with the bird (typical of false chatter),” says the Online Etymology Dictionary. What we do know is that gazette predates the word newspaper by about 60 years. More.