Where does the word “Tandem” come from and What does Tandem mean in Latin?

The Latin word tandem means “at length (with respect to time),” that is, “for a long time.”

Back in the eighteenth century, when the study of Latin was a normal part of English university curricula, some student noticed a carriage harnessed to two horses, one before the other, and, being somewhat of a wag, he coined a pun on the word by applying it, in the sense of “at length (with respect to distance),” to a team so harnessed.

The pun caught popular fancy, so that it has lived long after most people realize that it is a pun, and the sense has become broadened to include any of many things or events which may be arranged in consecutive order, one after another.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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