The Surprising Origin of the Word 'Soccer' Revealed: A British Invention

Mason Riverwind

Updated Thursday, July 4, 2024 at 12:00 AM CDT

In a fascinating video titled "Evil English" on Imgur, viewers are taken on an intriguing journey through the etymological history of the word "soccer." The video kicks off with the question: "Would you say soccer or would you say football?" The answer, as revealed, is steeped in British history.

The term "soccer," often a point of contention between American and British English speakers, was actually coined by the English themselves. This revelation is delivered by a self-proclaimed "true, red-blooded, witch-ish lady" who dives into the history of the word with a mix of humor and frustration. In the 1800s, the English had a penchant for shortening words unnecessarily. The term "association football" was abbreviated to "assoc," which later evolved into "soccer" with the addition of an "er" suffix, a popular linguistic trend at the time, particularly in Oxford.

This bit of trivia sparked a range of reactions from viewers. One commenter delighted in sharing how American football evolved from soccer via rugby, a sport developed in England and transported across the Atlantic. Another viewer highlighted the importance of correct historical citations, sharing a link to a 1899 article from "The Express and Telegraph" to validate the origin story.

The video also prompted humorous and insightful comments about cultural differences in language. One commenter pointed out that in Cantonese, both American football and soccer are referred to as "catch ball." Another noted the historical context of football being a game played on foot, differentiating it from polo, which is played on horseback.

The debate over the term "soccer" versus "football" also touched on regional differences. A Canadian viewer mentioned that using "soccer" and "American football" helps avoid ambiguity, especially when living in the UK. Others humorously noted that many terms Americans use, such as "fall" instead of "autumn," were originally British.

Interestingly, some viewers pointed out that the term "soccer" was so unpopular in England that it was quickly abandoned by the general public. This sparked comparisons to modern marketing mishaps, likening it to a hypothetical scenario where McDonald's renames a burger something unappealing and blames everyone else for it.

The video concludes with a nod to the broader cultural implications of language and sport. The fact that the US has won the World Cup four times, compared to England's single victory, adds an ironic twist to the English claim over the term.

Ultimately, the video "Evil English" reveals that the term "soccer" is a British invention, a linguistic quirk from the 1800s that has become a modern-day point of cultural contention. Whether you call it soccer or football, this deep dive into etymology offers a humorous and enlightening look at how language evolves and how historical tidbits can spark lively debates.

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View source: Imgur

Top Comments from Imgur


I enjoy telling people this and also about how american football is actually an evolution from soccer... because rugby was developed from soccer in england and then that was brought to the US and american football was developed from rugby


Nice video, and bit of trivia. However during validation, I discovered that the citation is incorrect. Here's a link to the correct clipping in the video from "The Express and Telegraph" (Adelaide, SA : 1867 - 1922) on Sat 23 Sep 1899, Page 4:


LOL! “That’s thoroughly unpleasant”… bit britishey, innit?


It's called football because it's played on foot, as opposed to the existing game of polo which is played on horseback. The English used polo fields to develop the various styles of football games. The rich elite could afford horses for sport, the commoners ran around on foot in their sports.


In Cantonese, it's literally "catch ball". So it is used for American football and soccer.


The US has won the World Cup 4 times, England once. I wouldn't accept their authority as experts on the game.


Also Redhanded is a great true crime podcast! I listen to these bad b****es every week talk about all kinds of f***ed up crime lol


Wow, redhanded on imgur. F*** yeah!


So they you go.


Nice try. Handegg.

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