Shampoo

Shampoo is from the Hindi, meaning to press or knead, and entered English in the 1760s with the original meaning of ‘massage’, especially as part of a Turkish bath. Shampooing the hair dates from the mid-1800s. The Turkish bath or hammam gets its name from the Arabic hamma (to heat). The Romans and Greeks used oil, not soap, for washing, and so had no word for soap. Soap is from the West Germanic saipo, originally a hair dye or pomade. Soap operas are so-called as early sponsors of US TV were soap manufacturers.

mag cover This article is from the November 2002 issue of New Internationalist.
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