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Hidden Words

We often overlook words that are hidden inside other words. Sometimes the relationship of the two words tell us something about the origin of the outer word. If you can think of other such words, let us know via our contact page.

Atonement Orginally at-one-ment, since atonement puts you at one with God.
Business This word may still refer to anything that keeps you busy, but it has also gone on to bigger things.
Disease This word once meant mere uneasiness; now ease is unnoticeable in speech.
Necklace Once women wore a bit of lace around their neck. Today lace sounds like the negative suffix -less.
Pent This is just the past tense and past participle of the verb to pen (up), like spend - spent. Now you can pen up emotions if you use this verb.
Sweater Sweaters were originally designed to make you sweat. Nowadays you wouldn't want to sweat in most sweaters.
Usual This word started out in Latin referring to things you use all the time. French changed the meaning a little leaving little for English to do in borrowing it from French.
Woman This is a reduction of Old English wif "adult female" + man "person". English is the only Germanic language exhibiting the polysemy of man today.