Speak Up explains: Shuttle

Avete mai fatto caso che sia per andare nello spazio sia per andare in aeroporto si prende uno shuttle? Una lettrice ci ha chiesto il perché e noi abbiamo indagato! Tutto nasce molto prima: nell’industria tessile, all’epoca della rivoluzione industriale…

Mark Worden (Standard British accent)

Recently we had a very interesting question from a reader who asked us why in English we used the same word – shuttle – to describe a space shuttle but also the bus that takes you to and from areas of an airport or a city, and so we looked into this and it’s really rather (1) interesting. Shuttle does indeed (2) mean to move back and forth (3) from the same place and it began with the weaving industry (4) during the Industrial Revolution. The… the shuttle was the part of the… the weaving instrument that moved back and forth to… to help with the… with the weaving. Later on, the word shuttlecock (5) became the thing that is used in the game of badminton because it’s a thing that moves back and forth across the net (6). And in modern times the shuttle bus was indeed the bus that moves back and forth to the same place, it doesn’t have a particular route (7), it’s just to A and B and back again. And then it became used for the space shuttle, which is not the same as a spaceship, it’s a type of spaceship that takes people to and from a space station. So that is the brief story of the word shuttle.


1    rather: piuttosto
2    indeed: a dire il vero
3    back and forth: avanti e indietro
4    weaving industry: industria tessile
5    shuttlecock: nel badminton: volano
6    net: rete
7    route: strada, percorso

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