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Why Do We Call It Soccer?

Wikimedia Commons
The 2010 World Cup

Have you ever wondered where the word "soccer" come from and why we use it?

According to Word Maven and grammar blogger Patricia O’Conner, the word “soccer” is a blended word that originated in the early 19th century. “In England, there was an association football league formed to normalize the sport. It was slang to add “er” to the end of words to shorten them. Players took the middle of association and added an “er” to the end.”

O’Conner says that even though the United States is an outlier for using the word soccer instead of football to describe the sport, we’re not alone. Players in Australia, Japan and in some parts of the Caribbean use it too. 

During this Talk of Iowa interview, O’Conner talks with host Charity Nebbe about sports lingo, where the world “foul” comes from and what people elsewhere in the world use to refer to American football. 

Lindsey Moon is IPR's Digital Producer
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa