I can be a word nerd sometimes.  I think it stems from when I was a chubby, lonely kid.  I didn’t have many human friends so I spent most of my time reading books…and spinning in circles until I was dizzy; it was a really cheap high.

Besides, we live in a world now where reading has become a waste of time and, on the job, the source of lost productivity.

Nevertheless, every once in a while it’s still fun to talk about the etymology (which is either the study of bugs or words) of some of our popular words and phrases.  Today, it’s “blockbuster.”

These days, the term “blockbuster” is used to describe nearly anything big, but it’s origins are fairly specific.  As you might expect, it was first used to describe a popular film.  But why?

Back in the day, theaters weren’t 24-screen google-plexes like we have today.  And they weren’t built in the middle of corn fields and always 40 minutes away no matter where you lived, dined or drank.  They occupied neighborhoods; they were Downtown.

As the throngs of movie-goers stood in line at the box office, often the line would wrap around the block.  And that’s where we got the word.

Today, you will invariably hear someone refer to a “blockbuster deal” or a “blockbuster contract.”  Well, unless people are waiting to see it, in a line that extends around the building, it’s really just a “lucrative deal” or an “outrageous contract.”  If we don’t care to see it, there will be no busted blocks.


There is one comment

  1. dave theune wrote

    So true.