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It seems that the word itself doesn't mean news or newspapers, but many newspapers use it in their names. Is there a historic reason?

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"It seems that the word itself doesn't mean news" -- Seems to whom? "The times they are a-changin'" -- Bob Dylan. – Jim Balter Mar 17 '11 at 8:12
@Jim: times doesn't mean news; you wouldn't say the news are changing – F'x Mar 17 '11 at 10:47
To state the obvious, the word "times" RELATES to the subject that newspapers deal with, which answers the question of why the word is in the name of a number of newspapers. That "times" is not an exact synonym for "news" is obviously beside the point. – Jim Balter Mar 18 '11 at 3:31
@F'x Not an intellectually honest argument, since I would say "the news it is a-changin'". – Jim Balter Mar 18 '11 at 3:41
up vote 15 down vote accepted

The name originally comes from the British newspaper The Daily Universal Register founded in 1785, which changed it names to The Times in 1788. Since then it has lent its name to papers all over the world.

Wikipedia: The Times

The original meaning of time is to happen, so the times means that what has happened, which is a fitting name for a newspaper.

Online Etymology Dictionary: time (v.)

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"The original meaning of time is to happen" -- where does this come from? The dictionary.com entry for time does not show any such thing (and BTW, the actual link above goes somewhere else). – mgkrebbs Aug 4 '11 at 19:34
@mgkrebbs: Sorry, I pasted the wrong link. I believe that the dictionary.com page did contain that information, but has switched sources... I found it elsewhere and updated the link. – Guffa Aug 4 '11 at 20:12

When in doubt about English, I like to go back to my Dutch roots.

The Dutch words for 'newspaper' is 'krant', which derives from the Dutch word 'courant'.

The Dutch word 'courant' can mean either newspaper or currency (money), and it derives from the French 'courant', which, when used as an adjective, means current or present (time). Another English term that derives directly from the French is 'au courant', which means, literally, up to date, informed on the latest developments etc.

This leads back to the idea of a newspaper reporting what is happening at the current time.

Along with newspapers that use the word 'Times' in their name, you will also find many that use 'Courant'.

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Simple: Currency, and location in history, as in "these are the Times that try mens' souls." You want yesterday's news?

There are also plenty of Heralds, Bugles, and even some "Cryers" (as in "Town-"), for the obvious reason that they are "announcing" the latest doings.

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