English can be funny

Malaysia
September 23, 2012 6:16am CST
Can anyone, who is perfect in his English, tell me why people who take care of children are called as 'babysitters'? Aren't they suppose to sit on the baby instead, lol? That's why I say English can be funny sometimes.
1 person likes this
6 responses
@owlwings (38900)
• Cambridge, England
23 Sep 12
Also, food packaging usually has a picture of the food on the outside. Butter has happy looking cows, eggs often have a contented chicken or two, bacon very often has a laughing pig. Cat food, dog food and baby food, on the other hand, are usually sold with pictures of happy cats, dogs and babies on the label! Theer's nowt so queer as folks!
@owlwings (38900)
• Cambridge, England
23 Sep 12
Theer's nowt so queer as MyLot, either! HOW did this discussion acquire the tag "mature content"???
@mysdianait (64064)
• Italy
23 Sep 12
"queer" amybe?
@owlwings (38900)
• Cambridge, England
23 Sep 12
Ah! Possibly
@luvandpower (2049)
• United States
24 Sep 12
Taken directly from the wiki: The term "baby sitter" first appeared in 1937, while the verb form "baby-sit" was first recorded in 1947.[2] The American Heritage College Dictionary notes "One normally would expect the agent noun babysitter with its -er suffix to come from the verb baby-sit, as diver comes from dive, but in fact babysitter is first recorded in 1937, ten years earlier than the first appearance of baby-sit. Thus the verb was derived from the agent noun rather than the other way around, and represents a good example of back-formation."[3] The use of the word "sit" to abbreviate to refer to a baby-sitter is recorded from 1800[citation needed]. The term may have originated from the action of the caretaker "sitting on" the baby in one room, while the parents were entertaining or busy in another. ___________________ It sort of makes me thinks about we used to have to sit on a brother or sister to "hold them down" so something could be done like a punishment or like getting their ears pierced haha.
• Malaysia
24 Sep 12
Your last sentence which is after the underline is very funny. That sounds more like it 'sit on the baby', lol, so that they don't go running around so much.
1 person likes this
@jenny1015 (13390)
• Philippines
24 Sep 12
Hahaha! Some English terms doesn't have to be taken literally. Wail till you learn some native Filipino terms of certain things. You will laugh even harder!
@WakeUpKitty (8707)
• Netherlands
23 Sep 12
I can't tell you but it's the same with the word: kidnapper.. even used if an adult is "napped" (what is napped btw?). But I assume most languages have words or expressions like this who doesn't make sense (anymore). I assume the word was invented as the first person (not called nanny) was sitting around while she had to take care/watch a baby?
@lynnes75 (443)
• Malaysia
23 Sep 12
Hmmm, I always thought it means that someone other than the parents or legal guardians are "sitting in as a temporary protector/care-giver/nurturer to the baby or child until such a time the parents/guardians are able to once again take up their duty whatnots". This is just my interpretation of the word as I understand it, but I think it's true :) I think the lotters above me might have answered more but I have my preferences set to not include mature content so I hope you have your answers :)
@gerald_lian (2193)
• Australia
23 Sep 12
Based on what I could find from Yahoo Answers (http://au.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100501013224AAnBK7z), the term babysitting is a shortened form of "sitting-in for baby caring". There was another comment that mentioned the term could be derived from egg-laying animals that "sit" on their eggs to care for it, for example chickens and birds, and I think this explanation is plausible as well. But indeed, English is definitely a funny language with many weird words and phrases!