Our word for danger or risk is thought to have its origins in 13th-century Arabic, in which the word “al-zahr” referred to the dice used in various gambling games. There was a big element of risk inherent in these games, not just from the gambling itself but from the danger of dishonest folk using weighted dice. Thus the connotations of peril associated with the word, which got back to Britain because the Crusaders learnt the dice games whilst on campaign in the Holy Land.
It originated in the 18th century with a British man named Admiral Vernon, whose sailors gave him the nickname “Old Grog” on account of his cloak, which was made from a material called “grogram”, a weatherproof mixture of silk and wool. (more…)