Category Archives: Language

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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Why Short Movie Advertisement Clips are Called “Trailers”

Movie Preview

Today I found out why short movie advertisement clips are called “trailers”, even though they are typically shown before the movie. It turns out, the first movie trailers occurred not at the beginning of the films, as they do today, but rather at the end of the films.  They were called “trailers” because the advertisements would be spliced directly on the end of […]

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AstroTurf Was Originally Named “ChemGrass” Before Being Used by the Houston Astros Baseball Team

astrodome

Today I found out AstroTurf was originally named “ChemGrass” before being used by the Houston Astros Major League Baseball team in the Astrodome. Contrary to popular belief, AstroTurf was not first used or invented for the Houston Astros.  For instance, before being used by the Astros, it was used at such sporting venues as Moses Brown School in Rhode Island, […]

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The French Word for “Paperclip” is “Trombone”

trombone-paperclip

Today I found out the French word for “paperclip” is “trombone”. The word trombone originally comes from the Italian “tromba”, which comes from the same Latin word, “tromba”, both retaining the same meaning: trumpet.  In this case, the ending with the added “one” (tromb-one), indicates “large”.  So, essentially, trombone means “large trumpet”.  This has been the name of the instrument […]

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Why Carbonated Beverages Are Called “Soft Drinks”

Crown Cork

Today I found out why flavored carbonated beverages are called “soft drinks”. It turns out, soft drinks aren’t just flavored carbonated beverages.  “Soft Drink” refers to nearly all beverages that do not contain significant amounts of alcohol (hard drinks). The term “soft drink” though is now typically used exclusively for flavored carbonated beverages.  This is actually due to advertising.  Flavored […]

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

crayons

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”, with “ola”, shortened from the French word “oléagineux”, meaning “oily”.  Oléagineux derives from the Latin  “oleāginus”, which is the adjective form of “olea”, meaning more or […]

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What the “Bee” in “Spelling Bee” Means

national-spelling-bee-finals

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” or “get together”.  The earliest documented case of this word appearing with this meaning was in 1769, referring to a “spinning bee”, where people would gather […]

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

Blonde Hair

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 gender the word is referring.  When referring to a woman with yellow hair, you should use the feminine spelling “blonde”.  When referring to a male with […]

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There is Nothing That Comes After Once, Twice, Thrice

English Sign

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 now considered poor English to use “thrice” instead of the equivalent “three times”.  At the same time, it is considered poor English to use “one time” […]

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Where the Word “Mouse” Comes From

Mice-hiding

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 turn derives from the Sanskrit “mus” meaning “thief” or “robber”, presumably referring to the fact that mice like to steal food from humans, particularly grains and […]

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