Tag Archives: Language facts

“Ye” in Names Like “Ye Olde Coffee Shoppe” Should Be Pronounced “The”, Not “Yee”

Today I found out the “ye” as in “Ye Olde Coffee Shoppe” should be pronounced “the”. The “Ye” here is not the “ye” as in “Judge not, that ye (you) be not judged”, but is rather a remnant of the letter “thorn” or “þorn” (Þ, þ).  The letter thorn was used in Old Norse, Old English-Middle English, Gothic, and Icelandic […]

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Origin of the Phrase “Blonde Bombshell”

Today I found out the origin of the phrase “blonde bombshell”. “Blonde bombshell” is often used to describe an exciting, dynamic, sexy woman with blonde hair, particularly blonde celebrity sex symbols.  The expression seems to have come from, or at least was popularized by, a movie and originally referred to a specific blonde bombshell. In 1933, the platinum blonde Jean […]

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A Man Once Tried to Raise His Son as a Native Speaker in Klingon

Today I found out a man once tried to raise his son as a native speaker in Klingon. The man in question is computational linguist Dr. d’Armond Speers.  Speers is actually not a huge Start Trek fan himself. Indeed, many Klingon language enthusiasts aren’t, contrary to popular perception.  They tend to be language lovers fascinated by constructed languages, of which […]

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The Difference Between Farther and Further

Now You Know

You should know the difference between “farther” and “further”. Many people use “further” and “farther” interchangeable, but, in fact, they mean slightly different things.  “Farther” refers to a physical distance, while “further” refers to a figurative distance.  So, when wondering how many more miles or kilometers to a particular destination, you’d say, “How much farther to the gas station?”  On […]

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Where the Word “Latrine” Comes From

The term “latrine” comes from the Latin “lavare”, which means “to wash”.  The earliest references to this word being used in English goes all the way back to the mid-17th century. As an aside, the term “toilet” comes from the French “toilette”, meaning “dressing room”.  “Toilette” in turn derives from the French “toile”, meaning “cloth”.  During the 17th century, the […]

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Words that Change Their Meaning Depending on Whether the First Letter is Capitalized are “Capitonyms”

There are some words that change their meaning based on whether the first letter is capitalized or not.  These words are collectively known as “capitonyms”.  These capitonyms are particularly troublesome when they appear at the beginning of a sentence, as there is no way, based on the single word alone, to tell which meaning is being referred to.  Examples of […]

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The Difference Between Bacon and Salted Pork

The difference between bacon and salted pork or ham is primarily just the composition of the brine that is used to cure it.  Brine for bacon often includes sodium nitrite, sodium nitrate, and saltpeter (for curing the meat); sodium ascorbate (for setting the color, as well as speeding up the curing process); and brown or maple sugar (for flavor), among […]

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