The Etymologicon is a wonderful book on English word origins. I thought I’d share one particularly hilarious bit: the origin of pool:
It starts with French gamblers. Apparently they would place bets on who was able to hit a chicken (poule) with a rock. Then:
The term got transferred to other things. At card games, the pot of money in the middle of the table came to be known as the
. English gamblers picked the term up and brought it back with them in the seventeenth century. They changed the spelling to
, but htey still had a pool of money in the middle of the table.
When billiards became a popular sport, people started to gamble on it, and this variation was known as
, hence shooting pool.