Regular Doses of Common Sense™

Massage or Message? You Want Me to Do Which?

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Massage or Message? You Want Me to Do Which?

When typing too quickly, it’s easy to mistype massage or message and the results can be funny — if not a bit embarrassing.

The other day I was engaged in a text chat with a friend of mine about some subject I don’t even remember.

She asked me a question I didn’t have a clear answer for at that specific moment, and I told her so. She then texted:

Well, massage me when you find out.

I chuckled. But before I could offer some smart-aleck response, she texted again:

Oops. Message*

Yes, that little asterisk that seems to make all right with the world again after a typo took the fun right out of the moment.

Massage or Message

It’s relatively easy to remember a time when one imagines that massage could be a noun or verb while message could only have been a noun.

But this would be what might be called a “false memory.” When you look up message in the Online Etymology Dictionary, you’ll find that the familiar noun version of the word dates back to around 1300 and refers to a communication. But message as a verb was not a 20th century invention coined to refer to the act of sending a message by a smartphone: the verb form of the word, believe it or not, dates back to 1580.

Who knew?

Massage, on the other hand, is a much “younger” word. Both the verb and noun forms of the word appeared on the English scene around 1874. The noun form refers, of course, to the act kneading or rubbing something or someone, while the verb form means to knead or rub.

I don’t know about you, but on a stressful day, I’d take a good massage over a message in a heartbeat.

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