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Presented by State Library Victoria

Why Are Rainbows Called Rainbows? (A Hopefully Informative Word Vomit)

So I’ve been thinking and that thinking, my dear friends, has led to today’s topic because with all of that precious time and extremely deep and philosophical thinking about life or death matters on subjects such as ‘pizza rolls or actual pizza for lunch?‘ led me to think of a very important question, this incredibly valuable, life-changing question being; ‘Where the heck does the word rainbow come from?!‘ Now I was so absolutely baffled about this that I did actual research on the topic and also asked several peoples opinions on the matter. Now I have finally, after many many hours of hard work (0.12 hours to be exact) come to the conclusion that the name ‘rainbow’ was based on a huge misunderstanding about ‘rainbows’. How, you ask is it a big misunderstanding? Well, I will get to that but it is all in good time my friend, all in good time. Now before I explain how the name rainbow was a huge misunderstanding I have to explore all the options of where this name comes from. So the ‘rain’ part of ‘rainbow’ is pretty self-explanatory as to where it comes from; rainbows come out when it rains. However, the bow part has several possibilities as to why it could be named what it is. The first of these possibilities is that the person who named them could’ve had the last name ‘boga’ as the rainbow was originally called ‘regnboga‘ in old English ‘regn‘ meaning rain ‘boga‘ meaning bow but the person that named the so-called ‘rainbow’ did not from what I could find have ‘boga‘ or bow in his name at all. The second possibility is that it could’ve been named after a ribbon or bow tie but the rainbow has no relation to a ribbon or bow tie in any way shape or form so that option can be ruled out. The third and final possibility is that the rainbow was named after it’s noticeable resemblance to a bow used in archery. This is actually correct, the ‘regnboga‘ was named what it was because it was shaped like an archery bow. However, saying it is shaped like a bow is incorrect, the rainbow is not shaped like a bow at all and is, in fact, a circle. You can see images of a full circle rainbow or see one for yourself if you are in a plane or somehow in the sky. From the ground, you can only see the top half of a rainbow and when it was named it was assumed that that was the whole rainbow even though it isn’t. Because of this assumption, the name rainbow is based entirely off of an enormous mistake.

9 comments

poppy

You just ruined my dreams, thanks kid (even though you're probably older than me).[also please note the heavy sarcasm on that sentence that was actually very interesting. thank-you]

8th Oct, 18
jayay

Lol wow, you're welcome? Also, you're probably older than me I'm 13 in a week and yay someone actually found it interesting!

8th Oct, 18
poppy

In reply to jayay

oh, I actually am older than you. I turned 14 last week.

9th Oct, 18
jayay

In reply to poppy

Yeah, I'm one of the youngest on this if not the youngest.

9th Oct, 18
poppy

In reply to jayay

surely there's someone younger...

9th Oct, 18
jayay

In reply to poppy

Yeah, probably.

9th Oct, 18
indiaaqua

YOU STOLE MY IDEAAAAAAAAAA
TRIGGERED

(good job btw)

2w ago
jayay

I did not steal your idea, I wrote this before you ever posted yours and may I remind you that I gave you the idea for the post you wrote about it.

2w ago
indiaaqua

In reply to jayay

ok

2w ago