Did you know that "Texas" is a slang term for "crazy" in Norway? As in, "Put down the nunchucks, Sven! No need to get Texas in here!" They've been using it that way for decades, and it's weird to think that a thousand years from now, it's possible that word will still be around even if nobody using it remembers that the state was even a thing.
It's kind of a dick move, if you think about it, to have your entire proud history get turned into a mocking term that might outlive you. But lots of the language you use every day came about like this -- some group of people turning a petty grudge or classist insult into an everyday word, until it gets baked into the language itself. Like ...
5 "Idiot" Started As A Slur Against Common Folk
You probably have heard that, once upon a time, you could go to the doctor and get diagnosed as an "idiot." It used to be the clinical term for someone with a low IQ (along with "moron"), and it only fell out of favor after the public started using it as an insult a few decades ago. But if you go back further, you'll find an even bigger dick move at play.
"Idiot" comes from the Greek word idios, meaning personal or private, a connotation that still survives in words such as "idiosyncrasy." So, originally, an idiot was simply a private individual -- maybe, but not necessarily, because he couldn't figure out how the doorknob worked and was trapped in his home.
Meanwhile, the origins of your mom being like a doorknob because everyone gets a turn are quite clear.
In ancient Greece, the term grew to be applied to the "common man" -- in other words, a private citizen, as opposed to someone holding a public office. (You read that right: In the good old days, there were no idiots in politics.) Of course, back then an ordinary person was almost always also an uneducated person. You see where this is headed. It wasn't long until the upper crust started extending the term from laypeople in general to "those stupid laypeople," and from there it was only a hop, skip, and a jump to Halfwit City, population: you.
And thus a whole history of snide class warfare worms its way into our schoolyard insults. It'd be like if you traveled to the year 3515 and saw doctors diagnosing low-IQ types as "NASCAR fan" or "flies coach."
4"Prude" Was A Compliment Twisted To Shame Women Who Didn't Want To Have Sex
In a country where you can't show a female nipple on broadcast TV for fear it will scandalize the public's delicate minds, it's still an insult to be called a prude. It paints a picture of an uptight, obnoxious person who insists that even possessing genitals is only for those who lack both shame and class.
But if you were to hop in a time machine and burn rubber back to Old France, you could call a woman a prude and you'd actually be paying her a compliment. The word made its way to English from the French prudefemme, meaning a brave, virtuous, or proud woman. If you're just now noticing that "prude" and "proud" look awfully similar, that's because they once shared a similar meaning. They're dictionary friends!
But the word had a rough trip across the English Channel. While it arrived in early-18th-century England all starry-eyed and retaining the gist of its original meaning, it didn't take long for dudes in fancy knee breeches to turn it into an insult. Soon, a prude was a woman who was afraid of being seduced. And then it was an older woman who (knowing that the cobwebs dangling from her funbits made seduction unlikely) became overly pious. And finally it meant a woman who most definitely wanted the D but pretended not to for the sake of appearances.
"No D for me, thanks!"
So basically some women were too proud to sleep with some skeevy dudes, so those dudes got their revenge by twisting the word to imply that pride is a shitty thing to have. Isn't language fascinating?