Odd. Odd. Say it a few times, and the word ‘odd’ sounds odd. Peculiar. Different from what is usual or expected. Of course, we also know that odd numbers can’t be divided evenly into two groups. But where did this odd word come from and why does it have multiple meanings?

Whether we’re talking all things unusual or mathematical, the origins of the word odd point to the Indo-European root uzdho, which means pointing upwards. Jessica Oreck and Rachael Teel explain the evolution from the term for a triangle to a number indivisible by two and, eventually, to the peculiar.

Enjoy this episode of TED Ed’s Mysteries of Vernacular.

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