Companion, jeopardy, corny, the $64,000 question

Created date

August 21st, 2019


Ah, companionship! We all need it. Most of us crave it. 

But where does the word come from? 

As with so many terms in our vocabulary, “companion” comes from a combination of long-forgotten Latin words. 

The first is “cum,” meaning “with.” The second word is “panis,” meaning “bread.” “Cumpanis,” therefore, is someone with whom you share bread. 

In time, the term’s spelling evolved into “companion.” And the rest, my friend with whom I share bread, is history.

“In the Count of Monte Cristo, Napoleon warned Edmond Dantes not to tell anyone of the letter he’d entrusted to him, “not even your boon companion back there,” (he added, motioning to Count Mondego).


As we all know, to be in “jeopardy” means that one essentially has an equal chance of winning or losing. The term, however, started in French—the phrase jeu parti, meaning a divided game.

And that’s precisely what we are all up against in such circumstances. THIS IS JEOPARDY!

“Should you make the wrong choices in life, your future may be in jeopardy.”


It’s guaranteed that someone uses this word every day in America. When we call something “corny,” we mean that it’s poor, low humor. 

And as harmless as the term seems, it’s actually a surprisingly pejorative reference.

Naturally, “corny” is linked to the starchy produce itself. This, in turn, led to the term “corn-fed,” a derogatory allusion to society’s rural denizens.

Eventually, traveling comedians invented an alternative label for the so-called country hicks who frequented their tent shows. The cheap brand of humor that “corn-feds” preferred became known as “corny.”

“My dad’s jokes are really corny.”

That is the $64,000 question

A popular CBS radio quiz show from the early 1940s asked contestants a series of questions leading up to the top prize: “That is the $64 question.” It may seem rather unexciting but, believe it or not, back then this was the equivalent of over $1,000. 

The show was wildly popular, and the catchphrase (“That is the $64 question.”) became part of quiz show history. Thanks to inflation, the television version became “the $64,000 question.”

“Whether or not it will rain; that is the $64,000 question!”