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Word Origins | Milestone

Updated on January 28, 2012

Milestones often result in further growth.

Reaching one milestone, often causes people to want to attain the next milestone. This type of growth can often be seen in the business world and athletics.
Reaching one milestone, often causes people to want to attain the next milestone. This type of growth can often be seen in the business world and athletics. | Source

Milestones are Cause for Celebration

As milestones come and go in our lives, we often contemplate the events leading up to the milestone itself and what is to follow. For many, milestones are a time of reflection and a time of hope; perhaps a time of regret and resolution; a time for putting the past in its place and welcoming a brighter future.

Milestones can be joyous, celebratory in fact, or they can be times of sadness. Like most things in life, one's perspective, is the glass half full or empty, can determine the "feeling" that accompanies any particular milestone. Milestones can make big goals attainable by breaking them down into smaller pieces.

Celebrating the ringing in of a new year can be a milestone event. Birthdays such as 16, 40, 50 or 100 are considered milestones. Wedding anniversaries, like Silver for 25 years and Golden for 50 years are treasured milestones. Milestones are even associated with reaching certain business goals, or project phases.

Sitting up without support, crawling, first steps, first smiles, first words, first birthdays, first day of school, first time riding a bike without training wheels -- each a milestone engraved in the memories of parents.

But with so much significance tied to milestone events, have you ever wondered about the significance of the actual word, milestone?


Definition of Milestone


Dictionary.com defines the noun milestone as:

  1. a stone functioning as a milepost.
  2. a significant event or stage in the life, progress, development, or the like of a person


Word Origin of Milestone

Word origins can be very fascinating, yet I am often struck how we use so many words without any clue as to the word's derivation. Etymology, the study of a word's origin, history, and change of meaning over time, is actually quite interesting.

The word origin of milestone is very old, in fact, the word dates back to 1746; that's over 265 years! But the origins of the word date back to around the 3rd century.

The Romans had built a huge 53,000 mile network of roads and for every 1,000 paces or approximately 4,800 feet a stone marker was placed. Travelers across Europe were then able to use these stones placed at such intervals to mark their progress. About 95 milestones still exist with inscriptions, mostly dedications to the current Emperor at the time of inscription, or distance to a location.

In literal terms, a milestone is actually a stone placed every mile. Even throughout our vast modern-day network of U.S. highways, mile markers are placed every single mile. (If you have ever driven across country, these mile markers actually may become a bit of an annoyance, making the hundreds of miles remaining seemingly endless.) Figuratively, though, a milestone marks progress and achievement.

The word origin of milestone is quite simple, yet fascinating that the placement of stones along roads centuries ago, is the root of a relatively common English word today.


The 50th Milestone

50th Birthday, 50th Anniversary, 50th Hub - This article marks the 50th hub I have authored for HubPages!
50th Birthday, 50th Anniversary, 50th Hub - This article marks the 50th hub I have authored for HubPages! | Source

Have you celebrated any recent milestones?

The completion of this article on the word origin of milestone, is actually a milestone event for me. It marks the 50th article I've written for HubPages.

Writing for HubPages has been a journey filled with learning, new friends, and a sense of satisfaction as I have been able to publish my work. The sense of community is truly amazing as it provides non-stop encouragement.

What are the milestone events in your life? Have any caused you to stop and soak in the accomplishment, resolve to make changes, or be thankful?


Do you enjoy writing about any topic that interests you? If so, you should give HubPages a try!

Sign Up Here ... It's QUICK & FREE to join HubPages. You'll be glad you did!

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    • ktrapp profile image
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      Kristin Trapp 4 years ago from Illinois

      Glenn - I agree; I find the origins of words and "sayings" to be really interesting. I'm glad to have helped you learn a new tidbit of information.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 4 years ago from Long Island, NY

      I always find the origin of words to be an interesting subject. I never knew that "milestone" was actually based on the Romans placing stones to mark physical distance on the roads they built. I learned something new today from reading your hub. I guess that might be another milestone for me. :)

    • ktrapp profile image
      Author

      Kristin Trapp 5 years ago from Illinois

      Dolores - What a truly nice and thoughtful comment you left me. I really do appreciate it, as well as the "congratulations."

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 5 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Voted up and awesome! I love to read word origins and hope you've written more of these type hubs. You could get a lot of mileage from the topic. Congratulations on all your Hubs of the Day. Your hubs are wonderful and I'm glad to see everyone else thinks so too!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      50 articles--hooray and congrats! :) You really do have a great start with hubbing, markedly noted with this neat hub!

    • ktrapp profile image
      Author

      Kristin Trapp 5 years ago from Illinois

      DzyMsLizzy - I agree. A self-imposed milestone is often very difficult to achieve mostly since there is no accountability, no one watching over your shoulder to make sure it happens.

      I think some of the highway mile markers also mark the distance to a state's border, but I may be mistaken. Either way, if I am on a road-trip I do my best to not focus on them. I like to focus on getting to the next major city and so on. That's really interesting about the city center. I was not aware of that.

    • ktrapp profile image
      Author

      Kristin Trapp 5 years ago from Illinois

      Thank you randomcreative. It has been a little erratic getting to 50 hubs, but I am glad to have reached this milestone.

    • ktrapp profile image
      Author

      Kristin Trapp 5 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks DeborahNeyens - I will be waiting and watching for your 50th hub milestone.

      I actually just published another hub with tips for setting smart goals for perfectionists and in it I am setting monthly goals for hub writing. Then each month I am going to follow up and compare my actual performance to my goals. I am also going to publish my goals for the next month. I think announcing our goals and having a little accountability helps.

    • ktrapp profile image
      Author

      Kristin Trapp 5 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks Audrey!

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 5 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Congratulations on reaching a self-imposed milestone--those are often the hardest kind!

      Great hub--I, too, love studying word origins and have learned some surprising things along the way.

      An interesting side-note on distance markers--when you are traveling, and see "xx miles to such-and-so city," did you know that those are not miles to the city limits, but that city-to-city distances are actually measured from city center (city hall) to city center? So you may be a bit closer to your goal than the sign states! :-) Cheers--voted up, interesting and awesome.

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Congrats on writing your 50th hub!

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 5 years ago from Iowa

      Congratulations, ktrapp! I resolve to hit my 50th before the end of the month. You heard it here first. : )

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 5 years ago from California

      Congrats on your milestone!! And Happy New Year to you!

    • ktrapp profile image
      Author

      Kristin Trapp 5 years ago from Illinois

      Dave - I actually got it in with one hour to spare central time, but now it's time to focus on my January goals and new milestones. Onward.

      Missolive - Thanks so much and how nice to share publishing our 50th hubs on the same evening. And congratulations on your placement in AEvan's list. It was an awesome thing she did and you should be really proud.

    • missolive profile image

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 5 years ago from Texas

      ktrapp - congratulations on your 50th hub. I am pleased to have met this MILESTONE with you before the clock struck twelve. Yay! We did it!

      This is a great hub and I love how you included the etymology of milestone. Word origins are a fascination of mine. Perfect timing with the New Year too.

      I look forward to sharing more milestones with you this year on HP. Cheers!

      FYI - Slightly off topic, but I have to say...I absolutely LOVE your closing HP picture and invitation on your last capsule - brilliant! Very clean and professional - KUDOS!

    • davenmidtown profile image

      David Stillwell 5 years ago from Sacramento, California

      It was not midnight in California when you published it...l so you made it... regardless.

    • ktrapp profile image
      Author

      Kristin Trapp 5 years ago from Illinois

      I did try to slip hub #50 under the radar before the clock struck midnight, but you two caught me. I have to say I'm looking forward to 2012 too. I'm sure we will all reach meaningful milestones.

    • davenmidtown profile image

      David Stillwell 5 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Happy new years ktrapp! I think 2012 will be good for you!!!

    • homesteadbound profile image

      Cindy Murdoch 5 years ago from Texas

      Congratulations!I know you thought you might not make this one, but you turned 96% into 100%

      One is great but the other is outstanding. You grew a little because you had to reach for it!

      Happy New Year! Looking forward to what this year will bring.

      Once again, congratulations!

      Voted up and interesting!

    • ktrapp profile image
      Author

      Kristin Trapp 5 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks Dave for the congratulations, votes, and encouraging words. I can see how people can find word origins fascinating. I find sayings and their origins interesting, as well.

    • davenmidtown profile image

      David Stillwell 5 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Congratulations on your 50th hub milestone... and a great hub this is... very interesting too. Etymology is a fascinating hobby. votes up and awesome...cause I knew you could do it.