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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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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 …

Can snakes bite through leather shoes?

May 20, 2017 | Author: | Posted in Zoology

Such snakes as the bushmaster, rattlesnake and Gaboon viper have long, powerful fangs and are able, under favorable circumstances, to bite through soft leather and rubber of the thickness generally used in making shoes, boots and leggings. No species of snake, however, is able to bite through the hard, thick leather used in heavy boots, …

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Is quicksilver mined?

May 17, 2017 | Author: | Posted in Science

Quicksilver is the popular name of mercury, a heavy silver-white element. It is unique among the metallic elements in that it remains liquid at ordinary temperatures. Mercury occurs in nature in a free state, both in lodes and placer deposits, but only in small quantities. Commercial mercury is obtained chiefly from cinnabar ore, the sulphide …

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Why are the people of Georgia called crackers?

May 16, 2017 | Author: | Posted in General Knowledge

Cracker is applied in the South, especially in Georgia and Florida, to poor whites and hill dwellers. The term in this sense dates back at least to the time of the Revolution. Although early uses leave the origin of the term in doubt, most authorities regard it as a shortened form of corncracker, which refers …

How did “fan” originate?

May 9, 2017 | Author: | Posted in Language

Fan, in the sense of an enthusiast over baseball, football, radio or any other sport, amusement, entertainment or avocation, is modern and is believed to be a contraction of fanatic. The theory, often advanced by popular writers, that fan in this sense is derived from the verb to fan, signifying to blow upon, to stimulate …

What is a “shivaree”?

May 8, 2017 | Author: | Posted in Language

Charivari, in the sense of a mock serenade of a newly married couple, is popularly spelled and pronounced shivaree in the United States. It is a French term and is correctly spelled charivari and pronounced sha-ree­va-ree in English. Some authorities suppose the word was of onomatopoeic or imitative origin and was suggested by the sound …

How did “booze” originate?

May 7, 2017 | Author: | Posted in Language

Booze is not a word of recent coinage, as commonly supposed. It is an example of a good word that degenerated into slang. In varying forms the term has been part of the English language at least since the fourteenth century. It occurs variously as booze, bouze, bouse and bowse. Apparently it was derived from Middle …