Category Archives: Myths and Misconceptions

The Term “Scot Free” Does Not Come from the Dred Scott v. Sandford Supreme Court Case

Myth: the term “scot free” has its origins from the Dred Scott v. Sandford U.S. Supreme Court Case. “Scot free”, also sometimes written “scotfree”, “scot-free” or, incorrectly, as “Scott free” actually pre-dates the Dred Scott Supreme Court ruling in 1857 by a very large margin (having been around since at least the 11th century). Another common misconception is that the […]

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

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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Tootsie Roll Industries Never Gave Away a Prize if the Wrapper of a Tootsie Pop Had a Native American Boy Shooting a Star

Myth: Tootsie Roll Industries used to give away prizes if the wrapper of a tootsie roll pop had a Native American boy shooting a star. Children all over the world have whipped wrappers off of the beloved Tootsie Pop lollipop searching for an Indian boy shooting a star in hopes of obtaining a free Tootsie Pop. Turns out, even though […]

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“Billy the Kid’s” Real Name was Not William H. Bonney

Myth: Billy the Kid’s real name was William H. Bonney William H. Bonny is actually another alias of Billy the Kid, used during the height of his notoriety, but it is not generally considered his real name. Throughout his life, several different names were associated with this 19th century outlaw and gunman, including: William Henry McCarty, Jr. – Billy the […]

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The “X” in “Xmas” Doesn’t Take the “Christ” Out of “Christmas”

Myth: “Xmas” is a non-religious name / spelling for “Christmas”. It turns out, “Xmas” is not a non-religious version of “Christmas”. The “X” is actually indicating the Greek letter “Chi”, which is short for the Greek, meaning “Christ”. So “Xmas” and “Christmas” are equivalent in every way except their lettering. In fact, although writing guides such as those issued by […]

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Aerosol Sprays Do Not Damage the Ozone Layer

Myth: Aerosol sprays damage the Earth’s ozone layer. This misconception stems primarily from the fact that, originally, aerosol cans used chlorofluorocarbons as a propellant. Chlorofluorocarbons were also used commonly in refrigerators, air conditioners, and for many industrial applications. Chlorofluorocarbons were particularly popular because they are non-flammable, non-toxic, and non-reactive to most compounds. However, after scientists began to observe that the […]

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It Is Not Necessary To Drink At Least Eight Glasses Of Water A Day To Stay Properly Hydrated

Myth: You should drink at least eight glasses of water per day to stay properly hydrated. Probably one of the most widely spread urban health myths of all time is that the average person needs to drink at least eight 8oz glasses (approx. 2 liters) of water per day to remain properly hydrated. Popularly known as the ‘8×8’ (for eight, […]

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There is No Such Thing as a Negative Calorie Food

Myth: Your body uses more calories to digest certain types of foods, called “negative calorie” foods, than the actual calories contained in them. The concept of negative calorie food has recently been popularized by the media, around on Internet discussion boards, and from publications, such as “Foods that Cause You to Lose Weight: The Negative Calorie Effect“, by Neal D. […]

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