Origins of Common Words - Browse

About the history, origins, and definitions of the common word browse.


Browse - In the days of yore, goats, deer, and oxen fed upon the shoots and twigs of trees and shrubs, eating a bit and then moving on to another bush. Because these shoots were called browse, the animals feeding sporadically upon them were said to be browsing. Over the years, speakers extended the meaning of the word to people who nibbled on something--literally or figuratively--and then moved on. Thus people browsed first on food, then among books in a library or bookstore or among the pages of a book, and now among items in any kind of store.

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