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Where the Words “Crayola” and “Crayon” Come From

Where the Words “Crayola” and “Crayon” Come From

Daven Hiskey July 1, 2011 3

Today I found out where the words “Crayola” and “Crayon” come from. The word “Crayola” was originally thought up by Alice Binney. Binney, a one-time school teacher, combined the French word “craie”, meaning “chalk”,

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Where the Ampersand Symbol and Name Came From

Where the Ampersand Symbol and Name Came From

Daven Hiskey June 17, 2011 13

Today I found out where the ampersand symbol and name came from. The symbol for “&” comes from combination of letters in the Latin for “and”, “et”.  Specifically, in Old Roman cursive, it became

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The Symbol on the “Pound” or “Number” Key (#) on a Telephone is Also Called An Octothorpe

The Symbol on the “Pound” or “Number” Key (#) on a Telephone is Also Called An Octothorpe

Daven Hiskey June 15, 2011 5

Today I found out the symbol on the “pound” or “number” key (#) is also called an “octothorpe”. The origins of this term date back to the 1960s and 1970s in Bell Labs with

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What the “Bee” in “Spelling Bee” Means

What the “Bee” in “Spelling Bee” Means

Daven Hiskey June 10, 2011 0

Today I found out what the “bee” in “spelling bee” means. While no one knows exactly where the word derives from, the “bee” in “spelling bee” simply means something to the effect of “gathering”

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Why the Toilet is Commonly Known as “The Crapper”

Why the Toilet is Commonly Known as “The Crapper”

Daven Hiskey May 15, 2011 6

Today I found out why the toilet is also often called “The Crapper”. It all started with U.S. soldiers stationed in England during WWI.  The toilets in England at the time were predominately made

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The Words “Blond” and “Blonde” are Not Wholly Synonymous

The Words “Blond” and “Blonde” are Not Wholly Synonymous

Daven Hiskey May 11, 2011 23

Today I found out the words “blond” and “blonde” are not wholly synonymous.  So what’s the difference between the words “blond” and “blonde”? (besides the obvious extra ‘e’) The difference is simply in what

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There is Nothing That Comes After Once, Twice, Thrice

There is Nothing That Comes After Once, Twice, Thrice

Daven Hiskey April 14, 2011 11

Today I found out there is nothing that comes after the sequence “once, twice, thrice”. Interestingly, even though these words are roughly equivalent, differing only in the numeric value they refer to, it is

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Where the Word “Mouse” Comes From

Where the Word “Mouse” Comes From

Daven Hiskey March 21, 2011 5

This post brought to you by Victor Pest. All opinions are 100% mine. Today I found out where the word “mouse” comes from. “Mouse” comes from the Sanskrit word for mouse, “musuka”, which in

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The Difference Between Discrete and Discreet

The Difference Between Discrete and Discreet

Daven Hiskey February 8, 2011 0

Today I found out the difference between discrete and discreet. Simply put, “discreet” describes showing “reserve, prudence, or cautiousness” in one’s behavior or speech.  “Discrete”, on the other hand, means “distinct, separate, or unrelated”.  

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Where the Tradition of Yelling “Geronimo” When Jumping Out of a Plane Came From

Where the Tradition of Yelling “Geronimo” When Jumping Out of a Plane Came From

Daven Hiskey January 20, 2011 6

Today I found out where the tradition of yelling “Geronimo” when jumping out of a plane came from. In the 1940s, the U.S. Army was testing out the feasibility of having platoons of soldiers

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The Color Orange Was Named After the Fruit

The Color Orange Was Named After the Fruit

Daven Hiskey January 6, 2011 15

Today I found out the color orange was named after the fruit, not the other way around.   Before then, the English speaking world referred to the orange color as geoluhread, which literally translates to

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The British Equivalent of “That’s What She Said”

The British Equivalent of “That’s What She Said”

Daven Hiskey December 30, 2010 48

Today I found out there is a British equivalent to “that’s what she said” that’s been around for over a century, namely, “said the actress to the bishop”.  This phrase is thought to have

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Where the Word “Algebra” Came From

Where the Word “Algebra” Came From

Daven Hiskey December 29, 2010 17

Today I found out the origins of the word “Algebra”. It all started back around 825 AD when a man named Abū ʿAbdallāh Muḥammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī, the “father” of Algebra, wrote a book

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What the SOS Distress Signal Stands For

What the SOS Distress Signal Stands For

Daven Hiskey December 27, 2010 15

Today I found out what SOS stands for. It is commonly held that SOS is an acronym for “Save Our Ship” and thus often written “S.O.S.”.  Interestingly though, SOS actually stands for nothing at

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Why We Kiss Under the Mistletoe

Why We Kiss Under the Mistletoe

Daven Hiskey December 3, 2010 9

If you’ve ever wondered why we kiss under the mistletoe and how the plant got that strange name, well, wonder no more. The name for mistletoe derives the fact that mistletoe tends to spring

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Why Pencil “Lead” is Called “Lead”

Why Pencil “Lead” is Called “Lead”

Daven Hiskey November 24, 2010 5

Karen asks: Why is pencil lead called lead when it doesn’t contain any? In the 16th century, a large deposit of pure, solid graphite was discovered in Borrowdale, England.  This was the first time

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Where the Word “Amen” Came From

Where the Word “Amen” Came From

Daven Hiskey November 10, 2010 19

Today I found out where the word “amen” came from.  Specifically, “amen” comes from the Hebrew word… *wait for it*… “āmēn” (אָמֵן). More interestingly, amen is one of the rare examples where a word

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Where the Word “Witch” Came From

Where the Word “Witch” Came From

Daven Hiskey October 26, 2010 5

For more Halloween related information, be sure and check out: 15 Facts About Halloween [Infographic]. Today I found out where the word “witch” came from. The word “witch” derives from the Old English words

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