etymology »

Origin of the Word Lukewarm

Origin of the Word Lukewarm

Daven Hiskey August 17, 2012 6

Today I found out the origin of the word “lukewarm”. You’ve probably wondered why we have the word “lukewarm” for describing something that is only slightly warm.  Why not “stevewarm” or “beckywarm”?  Well if

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Why are the Oscars Called the Oscars?

Why are the Oscars Called the Oscars?

Daven Hiskey July 23, 2012 2

Jesse L. asks: Why are the Oscars called the Oscars? No one is 100% sure, though the popular theory is that the nickname for the “The Academy Award of Merit”, as it is actually

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Why are Potatoes Called “Spuds”?

Why are Potatoes Called “Spuds”?

Daven Hiskey June 12, 2012 4

Chelsea asks: Why are potatoes called “spuds”? Among other definitions, a “spud” is a “sharp, narrow spade” used to dig up large rooted plants.  Around the mid-19th century (first documented reference in 1845 in

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What “Mrs.” is Short For

What “Mrs.” is Short For

Daven Hiskey May 27, 2012 4

Today I found out what “Mrs.” is short for. You may have wondered, if you’ve ever thought about it, why there is an “r” in “Mrs.” when it’s generally spoken as “missus” (also sometimes

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What is the Origin of the Phrase “Caught Red Handed”?

What is the Origin of the Phrase “Caught Red Handed”?

Daven Hiskey May 22, 2012 0

Carl F. states: During WWII, I saw my father go to get a physical for the Navy, when he returned home for a week before shipping out he had red ink on the back

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It’s Bad Rap, Not Bad Wrap

It’s Bad Rap, Not Bad Wrap

Daven Hiskey May 19, 2012 2

You should know that the expression to describe when someone is falsely convicted of a criminal charge or is on the receiving end of unjustified criticism is “bad rap”, not “bad wrap”. Further, “rap”

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

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

Daven Hiskey February 2, 2012 5

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

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“Nephew” Used to Refer to Both Boys and Girls

“Nephew” Used to Refer to Both Boys and Girls

Daven Hiskey December 18, 2011 0

“Nephew” at one time was a gender neutral term, but since around the 17th century has referred nearly exclusively to male children of one’s siblings or brother/sister-in-law’s children.  The word “nephew” comes from the

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In Pinky and the Brain, Brain’s Name is an Acronym for “Biological Recombinant Algorithmic Intelligence Nexus”

In Pinky and the Brain, Brain’s Name is an Acronym for “Biological Recombinant Algorithmic Intelligence Nexus”

Daven Hiskey November 12, 2011 1

##EMBED## In the cartoon “Pinky and the Brain”, Brain’s name is an acronym for “Biological Recombinant Algorithmic Intelligence Nexus”.  Pinky’s name is probably a reference to the fact that a “pinky” is another name

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Mexico is Really Called the United Mexican States

Mexico is Really Called the United Mexican States

Daven Hiskey August 29, 2011 9

Today I found out that Mexico is really called the United Mexican States or Estados Unidos Mexicanos.  Specifically, there are thirty one states in the UMS, with 111 million people making it the 11th

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10 Interesting Word & Phrase Facts

10 Interesting Word & Phrase Facts

Noreen August 2, 2011 1

Embed This Infographic

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Why Carbonated Beverages Are Called “Soft Drinks”

Why Carbonated Beverages Are Called “Soft Drinks”

Daven Hiskey July 9, 2011 12

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

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The Origin of the Phrase “Pipe Dream”

The Origin of the Phrase “Pipe Dream”

Daven Hiskey July 8, 2011 3

Today I found out the origin of the phrase “pipe dream”, meaning “a fantastic hope or plan that is generally regarded as being nearly impossible to achieve.” This phrase first popped up in the

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

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

Daven Hiskey December 30, 2010 47

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 9

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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Where the Word “Wiki” Comes From

Where the Word “Wiki” Comes From

Daven Hiskey October 15, 2010 9

Today I found out where the word “wiki” comes from. Howard G. Cunningham, the developer of the first wiki which was launched in 1995 called WikiWikiWeb, upon his first visit to Hawaii was informed

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