r/todayilearned Jun 29 '22

TIL the word "jumbo" comes from the name of a famous giant elephant in P.T. Barnum's touring 19th century circus. Jumbo was killed by a train at age 24, supposedly while saving the life of Tom Thumb, a younger elephant. Word Origin/Translation/Definition

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jumbo

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53 Upvotes

5

u/locks_are_paranoid Jun 29 '22

According to a different reddit post, Tom Thumb was the name of the type of train.

3

u/leonryan Jun 29 '22

PT Barnum also had a tiny human in his show named Tom Thumb

2

u/widowdogood Jun 29 '22

Stories from Barnum belong in a special class.

-1

u/[deleted] Jun 29 '22

[deleted]

4

u/Ulgeguug Jun 29 '22

No it doesn't..... The elephant was named jumbo because it was large.

You're mistaken

2

u/justatheery Jun 29 '22

Most dictionary links credit the elephant with the modern, popular use of the word. In this link, under "history and etymology" https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jumbo

1

u/DaveOJ12 Jun 29 '22

That's not what the cited ref says.

1

u/Voyevoda67 Jun 29 '22

I believe Tom Thumb was named after the first American steam powered locomotive ever made. It's inventor, Peter Cooper, also invented Jell-o.