US president Donald Trump has popularized the phrase “fake news” But not too long ago these words in combination would have meant little to everyday English speakers.
Anatoly Liberman, a German, writes about the origins of the word “fake”. The word, it turns out, has a very dark past. The best guess for how “fake” became mainstream, argues Liberman, is that it was a kind used by thieves in the London underworld. But“how it got there, nobody in the world knows, and probably nobody will ever know,” he tells Quartz.
Liberman is a professor at the University of Minnesota and the author of Word Origins and How We Know Them. He writes that early records of “fake” as an English adjective appeared around the middle of the 18th century. The word likely comes from cant, or thief jargon(行话).
The OED mentions “fake” as a verb starting in 1819, which basically meant‘to do”in jargon, but also“to kill , wound, or rob”. An entry from a dictionary that year reads :
“To fake any person or place, to rob them ;to fake a person may also imply to shoot, wound, or cut; to fake a man out and out, is to kill him.”
Liberman traces the word next to Chares Dickens, who used “cly-faker”，where “cly” means pocket, in Oliver Twist. This is how he believes knowledge of “fake”as a word that means to steal, spread. Eventually it became a commonplace English word.
21. The underlined word “fake” in Paragraph