In Latin, focus means “hearth” or “fireplace.” It entered English in the 1600s as a word for the point where rays of light meet. The meaning “center of activity or energy” came into use in the 1700s. Because the hearth was for centuries the center of home life, it is not surprising that, today, several of the meanings of focus have something to do with a center or meeting point.
If you enjoyed this word history, try looking up these words in the Word Explorer Dictionary for Children: weird, compassion, barbecue, curfew, and gossip. Some of these histories will surprise you!