1. The grading of woods used in furniture;
2. The abbreviations craze of the US in the 1830’s which eventually lead to some intentional misspellings;
3. Martin Van Buren’s failed re-election in 1940;
4. A Haitian port famous for its rum.
Background: This question was asked in Chakravyuh 2003 organized by yours truly and my illustrious pardner. One of the all time classics of etymology. (Didnt impress the hard core quiz studds around though, who cracked it by the time I had read the point 2!). Googling should throw up the answer. Drop in your search results, views on each of the four points above in the comments
Disclaimer: The author of this post claims intellectual property right to the above question. It has not been sourced from any quiz groups around.