How did Earth get its name?

There are thousands of languages that span across the planet we walk on, so what links that with why we call it the Earth?

2nd December 2014
How did Earth get its name? (iStock)

Asked by: Lalit Gupta, Iowa, US

Each language has its own name for our planet but they all have one thing in common. Each is derived from a word meaning ‘ground’ or ‘soil’ (or sometimes ‘universe’ or ‘creation’).

For example, the modern English word ‘Earth’ derives from the Germanic ‘erde’, meaning ‘ground’. The roots of such words all date from a time when humankind was unaware that Earth is actually a planet. They merely signified the ground beneath our feet, and were adopted for the planet later on.


Get more fascinating Q&As from BBC Focus magazine by following @sciencefocusQA