Pool: a game all about stoning chickens

June 20th, 2014 § 0 comments

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 poule. English gamblers picked the term up and brought it back with them in the seventeenth century. They changed the spelling to pool, 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 pool, hence shooting pool.

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