"Discard" (and Lots of Other Words) Was a Gambling Term
"I discarded the audiobook when it did not, in fact, teach me to seduce any woman in 10 minutes."
"In order to win the game, I discarded some of the cards in my bad hand by pretending to yawn and then eating them."
This one seems kind of obvious once you hear it -- before it got its current, wider meaning, discard was a 16th century word meaning "get rid of a card while gambling." It does have the word "card" right in there. But considering that gambling is frowned upon as a hobby, a shocking amount of our language comes from the old underground gambling world.
Especially the foul.
Sure, there are the obvious slang terms like wild card, at stake, showdown and up the ante. But other, everyday words also came from the poker table -- for example they came up with the word luck. Likewise, hazard comes from a word meaning "play the dice." Bluff was invented by American poker players in the 19th century. Even the word "deal" was used in its poker context before it ever was used to mean "a business agreement." When people talk about stocks or young athletes they call the good ones "blue chip", aka the high-value blue discs used in poker (we can also thank these chips for "when the chips are down" or "let the chips fall where they may.")
Or "don't sweep up those chips, they're good eating."
So apparently if you put enough people together in a dark room and keep them there long after their families have abandoned them and the homemade liquor has erased all memories of the outside world, they're going to start making up new words. And the rest of us will start using them.
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