Friday, September 19, 2014

Cool Etymology Entry 2

Broke (adj.) : ruined financially, bankrupt; (often less seriously) penniless.

Pronunciation: /brəʊk/

Etymology: Many banks of post-Renaissance Europe would give porcelain tiles to their customers who they felt had enough credit. These tiles were called "borrower's tiles." When customers took out a loan, a copy of their information would be imprinted onto the tile. This way when the customer wanted to borrow more money, they would need to display their tiles so the banks could see if the customers had reached their credit limit. If the borrower had reached their credit limit, the bank teller would break the tile on the spot. Hence the phrase "I'm totally broke."

Earliest Use: 1597


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