19 April 2012

The etymology of "vetting" a person or a fact

A reader of this blog used the term "vetting" -
"a process of examination and evaluation, generally referring to performing a background check on someone before offering him or her employment, conferring an award, etc. In addition, in intelligence gathering, assets are vetted to determine their usefulness"
- in a comment, and I wondered where the term comes from.  Here's the answer:
To vet was originally a horse-racing term, referring to the requirement that a horse be checked for health and soundness by a veterinarian before being allowed to race. Thus, it has taken the general meaning "to check."  It is a figurative contraction of veterinarian, which originated in the mid-17th century... By the early 1900s, vet had begun to be used as a synonym for evaluate, especially in the context of searching for flaws.

1 comment:

  1. You won't believe this, but just today someone used this word on me and I didn't know what it meant or where it came from. Thanks for the info!


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