Last night I learned that the Polish word for ‘warehouse’ is magazin. I thought to myself, ‘That’s funny, the French word for ‘shop’ is, I believe, magasin. I wonder what the etymology of the word is – i.e., how do you get from magasin, meaning ‘shop’, to the common English usage, magazine, to mean a periodical? (Of course, I didn’t bother to look it up.) Today, on the bus, I was reading Dr.Johnson’s Dictionary: The Extraordinary Story of the Book that Defined the World(excellent, by the way), and at the top of page 39 I learned the following:
“[Gentleman’s Magazine] was the first periodical to be styled a ‘magazine’, a detail Johnson would respectfully note in the Dictionary, explaining that the word, which had originally meant ‘storehouse’, had ‘of late … signified a miscellaneous pamphlet, from a periodical miscellany”.
“Asked and answered,” as my friend Duncan says.
I looked into it further today, on the word etymology website , which elaborates as follows:
1583, “place where goods are stored, esp. military ammunition,” from M.Fr. magasin “warehouse, depot, store,” from It. magazzino, from Arabic makhazin, pl. of makhzan “storehouse,” from khazana “to store up.” The original sense is almost obsolete; meaning “periodical journal” dates from the publication of the first one, “Gentleman’s Magazine,” in 1731, from earlier use of the word for a printed list of military stores and information, or in a fig. sense, from the publication being a “storehouse” of information.
Some enlightenment, courtesy of the Age of Enlightenment.