Home » Reference & Education » Archive for the ‘Language’ Category (Page 2)

Other Subcategories of the "Reference & Education" Category:

Sort by:

Why is a necktie called a cravat?

April 23, 2017 | Author: | Posted in Language

Cravat is derived from Cravate, the French name of the inhabitants of Croatia, who in English are called Croats (pronounced kro-ats ) Khrvat is the Serbo-Croatian form of the name. The original cravat or cravate was a linen or muslin scarf worn around the neck by members of a regiment of Croat mercenaries in the service …

Comments Off on Why is a necktie called a cravat? Tags: , , ,

What is a thank ye ma’am?

April 22, 2017 | Author: | Posted in Language

A thank ye ma’am is a bump or depression in a road that causes a carriage to jolt the occupants. The original thank ye ma’am was a small ridge or hollow made diagonally across a road on a hillside to deflect water. It received its popular name from the fact that it caused persons driving …

Comments Off on What is a thank ye ma’am? Tags: , ,

How did Greenland get its name?

April 20, 2017 | Author: | Posted in Language

Since the greater part of Greenland, the largest island in the world, is covered with ice and snow Whiteland would have been a more appropriate name for that island continent. According to a Scandinavian saga, in 985 A.D. Eric the Red named it Greenland to induce colonists from Iceland to settle in the new country. …

Comments Off on How did Greenland get its name? Tags: , , , , , ,

What does f.o.b. mean?

April 17, 2017 | Author: | Posted in Language

F.o.b. is the abbreviation of the commercial phrase free on board. When used without a modifier, f.o.b. means that goods are to be delivered, at the seller’s expense, on the train, vessel, airplane, truck or other conveyance by which they are to be transported to the purchaser, who must pay the freight charges. The abbreviation …

Comments Off on What does f.o.b. mean? Tags: , , , , , , ,

How did “show the white feather” originate?

April 13, 2017 | Author: | Posted in Language

To show the white feather, which means to prove cowardly, retreat or back down, is a product of the cockpit. It was suggested by the old belief that a white feather in the tail of a gamecock was a sign that the fowl was crossbred and a mongrel, and consequently lacking in courage, pluck and …

Comments Off on How did “show the white feather” originate? Tags: , , ,

Why is “colonel” pronounced “kurnel”?

April 10, 2017 | Author: | Posted in Language

Colonel is merely the English form of Italian colonello, diminutive of colonna, “column,” and literally means “little column.” At first the little column or company at the head of a regiment was called colonello, which in the course of time was transferred to the leader or commander of the column or regiment. The term passed …

Comments Off on Why is “colonel” pronounced “kurnel”? Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Why is a ten-cent piece called a dime?

April 6, 2017 | Author: | Posted in Language

Dime is derived from the Latin decem (“ten”) or decimus (“a tenth”). In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries dime was applied in England to the tithe or tenth part of one’s income paid to the church. According to the King James Version of the Bible, the last part of Genesis 14:20 reads, “He gave him …

Comments Off on Why is a ten-cent piece called a dime? Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What is meant by the black ox?

April 3, 2017 | Author: | Posted in Language

The black ox symbolizes old age, ill luck, care, adversity or trouble and misfortune in general. “The black ox has not trod on his nor her foot” is a proverbial expression recorded as early as 1546 by John Hey­wood. It means that one does not know the meaning of sorrow, such as having been visited …

How did “not worth a tinker’s damn” originate?

April 1, 2017 | Author: | Posted in Language

There is a difference of opinion as to whether the last word in this phrase was originally dam or damn. A tinker’s dam, according to Web­ster’s International dictionary, is a wall of soft mud, clay, dough or the like, raised around a spot that a plumber wishes to cover with solder. The material of the …

How did “thumbs down” originate?

March 21, 2017 | Author: | Posted in Language

Thumbs up means approval; thumbs down, disapproval. These phrases are believed to have been suggested by the gestures made by the spectators at the gladiatorial combats staged by the ancient Romans for entertainment. The spectators were permitted to decide whether a vanquished gladiator should be put to death or permitted to live. If they clenched …

Comments Off on How did “thumbs down” originate? Tags: , , , ,