In the world of finance and money, there are some terms and phrases that we don’t use anywhere else. Have you ever wondered where they came from? If you have, you’ll find these origin stories interesting. If you haven’t, they might help you win at pub trivia one day!

  1. Mortgage

You might recognize the first part, mort, from words like mortuary, or mortal. That’s because it’s the Old French word for death.

The second part of mortgage, gage, means pledge.

Put them together, and yep—that contract you’re agreeing to when you buy a house means ‘death pledge’.  We all knew a mortgage was a big, serious commitment, but… whoa!

  1. Amortize

Things don’t get any lighter when we look at the word ‘amortization’ and its origins. Because there’s mort again, so we’ve got death. In this case, the word comes from Middle English, and it basically means ‘to kill.’ 

So it’s actually talking about killing debt, and we’re all in favor of that, but… it still seems a little dramatic, doesn’t it?

  1. Nest egg

When we talk about saving up some money, often in a retirement fund, it’s sometimes called a nest egg. But why? According to history, this phrase comes from farming. Putting an egg—whether real or fake—in the nest box stimulates chickens to lay more eggs. So that nest egg leads to more eggs, and more prosperity and security—exactly as a financial nest egg is intended to.

  1. Make money ‘hand over fist’

We know this means to make a lot of money in a short amount of time, but where does it come from? It’s a nautical reference to what happens when a sailor climbs a rope; it started out referring to making general progress (upward), and evolved to mean making money.

  1. Make ends meet

There are a lot of potential origin stories for this one, but one of the most commonly accepted is that it referred to wearing a tighter or shorter belt. Because if you were more frugal, and ate less, you’d easily be able to make the ends of the belt meet.

So if you’re looking for ways to amortize, or kill your debt, check out Earn & Save1 in the Brigit app. There are jobs, side hustles, exclusive discounts—all ways to help you pay down debt and build a nest egg.

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