He was, as found in Wikipedia, the “first international animal superstar, and the first African elephant to reach modern Europe alive,” and the largest elephant in captivity!  He was a constant attention-getter wherever he appeared, and caused worldwide mourning when he was killed in a railroad accident.  He was Jumbo, born in East Africa, travelling all over Europe, and finally ending up as part of the ‘Greatest Show on Earth.’  But..

He also added to our modern day lexicon!  Because of his size and the furor, the fads, the attention he garnered during his lifetime and after, his name, Jumbo, became symonmous with huge, enormous, gigantic, etc.! So, the next time you’re asked if you want the jumbo size at your fast-food place, remember who started it all!


#weekly #etymology