« Home | How deep is the deepest part of the ocean? Does an... » | What are the 57 varieties of Heinz? » | How is soap made? » | How does dry cleaning work? » | Why is chocolate poisonous to dogs but not to huma... » | Does bottled drinking water go bad? » | What is the Order of the British Empire? » | How many people in the world live in extreme pover... » | Where do cranberries come from? » | Is it possible to drink too much water? » 

Monday, March 06, 2006 Bookmark Now! | Email to a friend  

Where did the term "flea market" come from?

After several unprofitable starts, a search on "flea market term" turned up the goods, sort of. It proved to be one of those tricky etymology questions that's almost impossible to answer with certainty. Nevertheless, I did uncover three plausible suggestions for the origin of "flea market."

The first theory, and the one most popular on the Internet, proposes that the term is a direct translation of the French Marché aux Puces, a large, outdoor bazaar in Paris. This original market earned its name from the critter-infested goods it was rumored to sell.

The second theory alleges that the term was coined at a time when the slums and alleys of Paris were demolished and replaced by new construction. The dealers in second-hand goods who lived and worked in these old neighborhoods were forced to flee. The merchants' new gathering place was referred to as the "flee market," which later became "flea market."

The final theory associates the term with New York City's 18th century Fly Market. Apparently, the Dutch name for the market was vlie, which means valley but is pronounced "flea."

So there you have it, three flea markets for the price of one. My money's on the first explanation, but don't hold us to it.

Add to: Oneview Add to: Folkd Add to: Yigg Add to: Linkarena Add to: Digg Add to: Del.icio.us Add to: Reddit Add to: Simpy Add to: StumbleUpon Add to: Slashdot Add to: Netscape Add to: Furl Add to: Yahoo Add to: Spurl Add to: Google Add to: Blinklist Add to: Blogmarks Add to: Technorati Add to: Newsvine Add to: Blinkbits Add to: Ma.Gnolia



Share on Facebook Read the whole Blog

Receive post updates by Email

Bookmarks