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What does “fort” in “fortnight” mean?

May 31, 2017 | Author: | Posted in Language

Fortnight is a contraction of fourteen nights. The latter phrase, in the sense of a period of two weeks, was used in England as early as 1000 A.D., when it was used in a translation of the laws of Ine, who was King of the West Saxons in the seventh century. Fortnight has been gradually falling into disuse, …

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What is the belief about the seventh son of a seventh son?

May 30, 2017 | Author: | Posted in Science

It was once widely believed that the seventh son of a seventh son (or child or either sex as some supposed) was endowed with notable talent and supernatural powers. According to a belief that persisted through the Middle Ages, the seventh son of a seventh son is endowed with the power not only of curing diseases and disorders of …

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Did the United States pay France rent for trenches?

May 29, 2017 | Author: | Posted in Military

There is a persistent but unfounded popular belief in the United States that the American government paid the French government a rental for the use of battle trenches during the First World War. On this subject the United States War Department says: “The rumors in regard to this matter have probably originated from the fact that this Government rented ground …

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Why are policemen called cops?

May 28, 2017 | Author: | Posted in General Knowledge

Cop as applied to policemen is believed to be derived from the old English verb to cop, meaning to catch, to get hold of, to nab. This meaning of cop survives in the slang expression to cop off, which signifies to grab or to make away with something sought by others. In England a policeman is still …

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May 27 – What is ambergris?

May 27, 2017 | Author: | Posted in Zoology

Ambergris (pronounced am-ber-grees) is derived from French ambre gris and literally signifies “gray amber.” Ambergris is a solid, fatty, wax-like substance produced in the intestines of whales. It occurs only in the sperm whale (cachalot) and is believed to be caused in some way by the beaks of cuttlefish that are often found in it. Cuttlefish and squids …

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Can snakes poison themselves?

May 26, 2017 | Author: | Posted in Zoology

Naturalists are agreed that venomous snakes are immune to their own poison when it is swallowed. There is a difference of opinion, however, as to whether snakes are susceptible to their own poison when it is injected into their blood. The late Raymond L. Ditmars believed they were not. On the other hand, reputable authorities state that rattlesnakes …

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May 25 – What is a creole?

May 25, 2017 | Author: | Posted in Language

Creole is used in so many different senses that it is hard to define. In fact the term has been so distorted by usage that it is not safe to employ it except with extreme care. In the United States creole is generally applied to the white descendants of French and Spanish settlers of Louisiana and other Gulf …

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What is the “codfish aristocracy”?

May 24, 2017 | Author: | Posted in General Knowledge

Codfish aristocracy is now often applied to persons who, lacking in real culture, make a vulgar display of recently acquired wealth. Sometimes the term is also applied to families who were once rich and who still “put on considerable dog,” but who actually are so poor that they must live economically to support their pretensions. Originally codfish aristocracy was …

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Are any Americans buried in Westminster Abbey?

May 23, 2017 | Author: | Posted in General Knowledge

No persons of American birth are interred in Westminster Abbey. The deans of the Abbey, however, have thus far consented to the specific recognition of three Americans of distinction. James Russell Lowell (1819-1891), poet and essayist, is commemorated by a stained-glass window in the vestibule of the Chapter House, which is known as “the cradle …

What is the surname of David Lloyd George?

May 22, 2017 | Author: | Posted in History

Lloyd George, not simply George, is the surname of the British statesman who was Prime Minister during the First World War. David Lloyd George was born in Manchester in 1853 of Welsh parents. His mother was a daughter of David Lloyd, and his father was William George, who died when his son David was a …

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