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The Origin of the Expression “Open a Can of Worms”

The Origin of the Expression “Open a Can of Worms”

Matt Blitz January 22, 2014 0

Seth asks: Where does the expression “open a can of worms” come from? For the uninitiated, the expression “to open a can of worms” means to attempt to solve one problem, or to do

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Why People on Planes and Ships Use the Word “Mayday” When in Extreme Distress

Why People on Planes and Ships Use the Word “Mayday” When in Extreme Distress

Terynn Boulton January 17, 2014 4

This is an excerpt from our new book: The Wise Book of Whys, available in: Print | Kindle | Nook | Audiobook Today I Found Out why those aboard planes and ships use the

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The Origin of the Expression “The Big Cheese”

The Origin of the Expression “The Big Cheese”

Tegan Jones January 16, 2014 1

Joh asks: Why is someone in charge called “the big cheese”? It’s amazing how many English idioms contain food references and cheese has proven to be immensely popular when it comes to the English

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Have Your Cake and Eat it Too

Have Your Cake and Eat it Too

Matt Blitz January 15, 2014 6

Masen P. asks: Where did the expression “have your cake and eat it too” come from? The idiom “You can’t have your cake and eat it too” deliciously illustrates the concept of making trade-offs

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Why Leotards Are Called That

Why Leotards Are Called That

Emily Upton January 8, 2014 0

Leotards, the skin-tight garments that cover the torso and (sometimes) arms, leaving the legs free are a common sight in everything from little girls’ dance recitals, gymnastics, and figure skating to the Olympics. Favoured

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Origin of the “Deadline”

Origin of the “Deadline”

Melissa January 6, 2014 1

With its roots in 19th century warfare, the phrase “meet a deadline” has an interesting, somewhat literal, etymology. American Civil War Most etymologists agree that the word “deadline” first appeared during the American Civil

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Ancient Origin of the Word ‘Diarrhea’ and Other Common Medical Terms

Ancient Origin of the Word ‘Diarrhea’ and Other Common Medical Terms

Melissa January 1, 2014 0

Human beings have suffered from many of the same chronic illnesses and conditions since the dawn of recorded history. In fact, many of the words we use to describe medical maladies today date back

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Where the Expression “Bust Your Balls” Comes From

Where the Expression “Bust Your Balls” Comes From

Melissa December 20, 2013 2

Whether it’s busting or breaking, balls or stones, this expression has long been used by young men (and not a few women) to express a wide range of emotions brought about by the words

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The Evolution of the French Language

The Evolution of the French Language

Melissa December 11, 2013 2

Centuries in the making, Modern French owes its existence to a strange combination of conquest, evolution, authoritarian control and revolution. Linguistic Ancestors Long before it was France, Gaul (as it was known to the

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The Interesting Origin of the Word “Handicap”

The Interesting Origin of the Word “Handicap”

Emily Upton December 10, 2013 0

Today I Found Out the origin of the word “handicap.” You might have heard that the word originated from disabled veterans in England during King Henry VII’s reign (15th-16th century). Unable to make a

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The Origin of the Phrase “The Whole Nine Yards”

The Origin of the Phrase “The Whole Nine Yards”

Emily Upton December 5, 2013 4

Byron asks: Where does “the whole 9 yards” come from? For those outside of North America who aren’t familiar, “the whole nine yards” is an American phrase which loosely means “everything” or “the full

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The Origin of the Word Barbecue

The Origin of the Word Barbecue

Emily Upton December 2, 2013 1

Today I Found Out why barbecues are called that. The word “barbecue” comes from the Caribbean word “barbacoa.” Originally, a barbacoa wasn’t a way of cooking food, but the name of a wooden structure

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Why Athletic Shoes Are Called “Sneakers”

Why Athletic Shoes Are Called “Sneakers”

Emily Upton November 27, 2013 2

Today I Found Out how tennis shoes came to be called sneakers. When it comes to athletic shoes, calling them something like “walkers” or “runners” seems more appropriate than calling them “sneakers.” These days

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Who Invented Braille?

Who Invented Braille?

Emily Upton November 26, 2013 4

Noah K. asks: Who invented braille? Braille was invented by a nineteenth century man named Louis Braille, who was completely blind. Braille’s story starts when he was three years old. He was playing in

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The Origin of the Phrase “In the Limelight”

The Origin of the Phrase “In the Limelight”

Emily Upton November 11, 2013 0

Today I Found Out about the origin of the phrase “in the limelight.” Today it means “at the centre of attention,” but back in the day “in the limelight” meant, well, being in the

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The Fascinating Origin of the Word “Abracadabra”

The Fascinating Origin of the Word “Abracadabra”

Emily Upton November 4, 2013 10

Today I Found Out the origin of the word “abracadabra.” These days you might hear this word before some stage magician pulls a rabbit out of his hat, but hundreds of years ago people

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“Beam Me Up Scotty” was Never Said in the Original Star Trek

“Beam Me Up Scotty” was Never Said in the Original Star Trek

Karl Smallwood October 10, 2013 15

Just like when we told you, Sherlock Holmes never said, “Elementary, my dear Watson“, today we’re going to blow your mind by telling that nowhere, in the entirety of the original Star Trek, were

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How the Tradition of Saying “Pardon My French” After Saying Swear Words Started

How the Tradition of Saying “Pardon My French” After Saying Swear Words Started

Melissa October 8, 2013 5

“Pardon my French, but you’re an asshole! Asshole!” -Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) Centuries before Cameron shouted this over the phone to principal Ed Rooney, English-speaking people had been using the phrase “Pardon my

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