Marina Orlova of Hot for Words: Hello dear students! Do you trust me? How much? Do you trust me enough to loan me $10? What about $100? What about $5000 if I promised, promised, promised to pay you back?
When I ask you something like that, you probably want to ask me a ton of questions ... how much money do I have in my savings? Do I always pay my bills? But just give me some credit! Trust me!
Believe it or not, the word "credit" really does mean "trust."
It all starts with the Latin word "credere," which means "to trust or believe." From that comes the word "creditum," which is a "loan, or something that's entrusted to someone else." This word passed into Italian as "credito," and into Middle French as "credit," which also means "belief or trust."
The word has been associated with commerce since the 1520s. In the financial sense, credit is when one person trusts another so much that he will give him resources or money with the promise that they will get repaid later. It's very similar today, if you want to get a loan or a credit card, you need the bank to trust that you will pay them back.
Back in the day, your credit could be based on coming from a good family, or the honor of your word. Today, we have a complicated system that determines your credit based on how often you pay your bills on time, how you repay debt, and many, many other factors! Credit has become SO very important in our economy that it's hard to buy a car or rent an apartment if you don't have good credit.
So for your homework, go online or call up a credit agency and get a credit check! Make sure you stay on top of it!