January 13, 2012
- far-fetched (adjective)
- What does it mean?
- : not easily or naturally thought of : improbable
- How do you use it?
- People once thought that space travel was a far-fetched and silly idea.
- Are you a word wiz?
The common meaning of "far-fetched" that we give above isn't the original meaning of the word. What is the first meaning of "far-fetched"?We hope C didn't seem like a far-fetched choice. The earliest known use of "far-fetched" appeared in English in the late 1500s with the meaning of "brought from a remote place or time." It described the exotic things that sailors and explorers brought, or fetched, from far-off lands. This exotic notion gave rise to the sense more familiar today, "not easily or naturally thought of." What is surprising is how quickly this sense came into being after the original meaning, "brought from a remote place or time," was used. Our first piece of written evidence for the "improbable" sense of "far-fetched" dates to the early 1600s.