Fun Etymology Tuesday – Mayday

Hello splendid followers!
It’s Tuesday and it’s time for our usual Fun Etymology!
Today is not only Tuesday but also May Day, the last offspring of a long tradition of Spring festivals in Europe.
But you might have wondered one thing: why do aeroplane pilots scream the name of this particular occurrence when they are in distress?

Well, unsurprisingly, it turns out that the emergency signal “mayday” has absolutely zilch to do with the festival. What it is is an English interpretation (almost certainly influenced by the name of the day) of the French phrase “m’aider”, itself an abbreviated form of “venez m’aider”, i.e. “come help me!”

Feel free to quote this lovely bit of trivia to the pilot next time you’re involved in an emergency landing!*

*Please don’t bother the pilot during an emergency landing. THAT’S A REALLY BAD IDEA.

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