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Origin of the Term Jaywalking

Origin of the Term Jaywalking

Daven Hiskey July 9, 2012 5

Today I found out where the word “jaywalking” came from. For those not familiar with this term (i.e. many people outside of the United States), jaywalking is when, “A pedestrian… crosses a street without

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The Difference Between an Acronym and an Initialism

The Difference Between an Acronym and an Initialism

Daven Hiskey May 24, 2012 12

You should know the difference between an acronym and an initialism. Both acronyms and initialisms are abbreviations, but there is a key difference between the two, at least at present. Due to rampant misuse

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“To Boldly Go Where No One Has Gone Before” is Thought to Have Been Inspired by a Line from a White House Pamphlet on Space

“To Boldly Go Where No One Has Gone Before” is Thought to Have Been Inspired by a Line from a White House Pamphlet on Space

Daven Hiskey February 25, 2012 9

Today I found out the famous Star Trek line “…to boldly go where no one has gone before” is thought to have been inspired by a passage in a White House issued pamphlet on

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Origin of the Term Layman

Origin of the Term Layman

Daven Hiskey February 24, 2012 4

Today I found out the origin of the term layman. The term layman has today come to mean “a person who does not belong to a particular profession or who is not expert in

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Where The Term Goodbye Comes From

Where The Term Goodbye Comes From

Scott January 16, 2012 4

Today I found out the origin of the term “Goodbye”. “Goodbye” comes from the term “Godbwye” a contraction of the phrase “God be with ye”. Depending on the source, the contraction seems to have

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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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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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A Group of Cats is Called a ‘Clowder’

A Group of Cats is Called a ‘Clowder’

Daven Hiskey July 18, 2011 24

Today I found out that the correct term for referring to a group of cats is ‘clowder’.  Interestingly, there are also two other valid ways to refer to a group of cats, other than just saying

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Why Carbonated Beverages Are Called “Soft Drinks”

Why Carbonated Beverages Are Called “Soft Drinks”

Daven Hiskey July 9, 2011 13

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 Effects of Scurvy

The Effects of Scurvy

Daven Hiskey December 31, 2010 5

Yar me maties, today I found out what be causing scurvy. Like most people, I already knew that scurvy is caused by a lack of vitamin C and that it was a major problem

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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 10

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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What the SOS Distress Signal Stands For

What the SOS Distress Signal Stands For

Daven Hiskey December 27, 2010 15

Today I found out what SOS stands for. It is commonly held that SOS is an acronym for “Save Our Ship” and thus often written “S.O.S.”.  Interestingly though, SOS actually stands for nothing at

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What the Dot Over the Lower Case Letter “i” is Called

What the Dot Over the Lower Case Letter “i” is Called

Daven Hiskey October 20, 2010 2

Today I found out what the dot over the lower case letter “i” is called, namely a “tittle”. While this isn’t a commonly used word any longer, the expression “jot or tittle” still endures

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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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