Category Archives: Language

“Avocado” Derives from a Word Meaning “Testicle”

Avocados

Today I found out that “Avocado” derives from a word meaning “testicle”. The word Avocado comes from a Nahuatl Indian (Aztec) word “ahuácatl” meaning testicle. It is thought that the reference is either due to the avocado’s shape or the fact that it was considered to possess aphrodisiac qualities by the Aztecs. In Spanish, “ahuácatl” became “aguacate” and eventually “avogato” […]

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How Dick Came to be Short for Richard

Now-You-Know2

Today I found out why Dick is short for Richard. The name Richard is thought by most etymologists to derive from the Proto-Germanic ‘Rikharthu’, meaning more or less “hard ruler” (‘Rik-‘ meaning ‘ruler’ and ‘-harthu’ meaning ‘hard’).  This was adopted into Old High German as ‘Ricohard’, and from there to Old French, then Old English as ‘Richeard’, and today as […]

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The Word “Droid” is a Registered Trademark of Lucasfilm Ltd.

a-real-android

Today I found out the word “droid” is a registered trademark of Lucasfilm Ltd. Shortly before Verizon launched their “DROID” line of mobile devices, Lucasfilm Ltd. swept in and filed a trademark on October 9, 2009 for the term “Droid”.  Specifically claiming the term for: Wireless communications devices, including, mobile phones, cell phones, hand held devices and personal digital assistants, […]

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Split Infinitives are Not Incorrect Grammatically

dictionaries

Today I found out split infinitives are not incorrect grammatically. As mentioned in the recent Star Trek “to boldy go” article (check that out here), the majority of modern English grammar guides list split infinitives as being perfectly acceptable.  This has also been the case, not just in modern usage, but throughout most of the history of the English language […]

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The Word “News” Does Not Derive from the Four Cardinal Directions (North, East, West, South)

compass-rose

Myth: the word “news” derives from the four cardinal directions. While this potential origin of the word news seems plausible enough, it isn’t true.  The truth is, the word news can be traced back to late Middle English around the 14th century as a plural for the adjective “new” or “new thing”.  This is a somewhat rare instance of an […]

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The Bluetooth Standard is Named After a 10th Century Scandinavian King

Harald-I-of-Denmark

Today I found out the Bluetooth standard is named after a 10th century Scandinavian king. The man was Harald I of Denmark.  “Bluetooth” is the English translation of “Blåtand”, which was an epithet of Harald I (Harald Blåtand Gormsson).  Legend has it, he received this name due to being extremely fond of blueberries and consuming them so regularly and in […]

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Saying ‘Ahoy-Hoy’ was at One Time the Preferred Way to Answer the Phone

Alexander Graham Bell with Telephone Invention

Today I found out saying “ahoy-hoy” was at one time the preferred way to answer the phone. The very brief popularity of this telephone greeting stemmed from the fact the “ahoy-hoy” was Alexander Graham Bell’s preferred way to answer the phone.  Ahoy-hoy derives from the term “ahoy”, which is generally associated with being a nautical term used for hailing ships.  […]

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