Fascism and fajitas have the same etymological roots

I saw this tweet the other day, and it was one of those things that seems jarring and surprising at first, but actually makes a lot of sense when you think about it.

For more detail, here's the entry for "fajita" in the Online Etymology Dictionary —

traditional Tex-Mex dish consisting of strips of meat, chopped vegetables, and cheese wrapped in a tortilla, by 1977, from Mexican Spanish fajita, literally "little strip, little belt," a diminutive of Spanish faja "strip, belt, wrapper," from Latin fascia "band" (see fasces).

And here's "fascist" —

1921, from Italian partito nazionale fascista, the anti-communist political movement organized 1919 under Benito Mussolini (1883-1945); from Italian fascio "group, association," literally "bundle," from Latin fasces (see fasces).

Fasci "groups of men organized for political purposes" had been a feature of Sicily since c. 1895, and the 20c. totalitarian sense probably came directly from this but was influenced by the historical Roman fasces, which became the party symbol. As a noun from 1922 in English, earlier in Italian plural fascisti (1921), and until 1923 in English it often appeared in its Italian form, as an Italian word.

Which leads us back to "fasces" —

1590s, from Latin fasces "bundle of rods containing an axe with the blade projecting" (plural of fascis "bundle" of wood, etc.), from Proto-Italic *faski- "bundle," perhaps from PIE *bhasko- "band, bundle" (source also of Middle Irish basc "neckband," Welsh baich "load, burden," perhaps also Old English bæst "inner bark of the linden tree"). Carried before a lictor, a superior Roman magistrate, as a symbol of power over life and limb: the sticks symbolized punishment by whipping, the axe-head execution by beheading. Hence in Latin it also meant, figuratively, "high office, supreme power."

So there you have it, folks: fajitas are fascism.

Image: Ray Dehler / Flickr (CC-BY-SA 2.0)