Category Archives: Language

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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.  […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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, […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more
1 8 9 10 11 12 14