Words two or more degrees separated from their origin

Example: to “reboot” a movie franchise means to restart it from the beginning. This comes from “rebooting” a computer, which means to restart it. This can be traced back to the phrase “one’s own bootstraps”. Are there other words that have their original use in one situation, were then later adopted for another, and then borrowed from the second for a third?

How about itemize?
“item” is Latin for “also”. It used to be that long lists of , say, things in a household, or in the hold of a ship, were inventoried in a long list that went something like “a table; also, a couch; also, ten plates, also…” and so on. Except it was in latin, so it read “mensa, item lectus, item decem patellae, item…”. Eventually each individual article came to be called an “item” (literally, an “also”).
The word “itemize” developed in English to describe the act of listing such articles, which is more than a remove from the word “also”.


First recorded as meaning “silly, foolish”, c1290, its meaning has changed from “timid” (pre-1300); to “fussy, fastidious” (c.1380); to “dainty, delicate” (c.1405); to “precise, careful” (1500s, preserved in such terms as a nice distinction and nice and early); to “agreeable, delightful” (1769); to “kind, thoughtful” (1830). In 16c.-17c. it is often difficult to determine exactly what is meant when a writer uses this word.

(Paraphrased from the Online Etymology Dictionary.)

Actually, any decent book on etymology will have many examples of what you seek. Right now, I’m reading Roy Blount Jr’s Alphabet Juice, and it’s teeming with examples of words that have morphed through many meanings. Take a look.