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Sunday, January 04, 2015

Where Did It Come From?

Steve Cole explains:

1. The original name for butterfly was flutterby.

2. In Shakespeare's time, mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes. When you pulled on the ropes the mattress tightened, making the bed firmer to sleep on. Hence the phrase: "goodnight, sleep tight."           

3. The phrase "rule of thumb" is derived from an old English law which stated that you couldn't beat your wife with any stick wider than your thumb.

4. It was the accepted practice in Babylon 4,000 years ago that for a month after the wedding, the bride's father would supply his son-in-law with all the mead he could drink. Mead is a honey beer and because their calendar was lunar based, this period was called the honey month, which we know today as the "honeymoon".

5. In English pubs, ale is ordered by pints and quarts, so in old England, when customers got unruly, the bartender would yell at them, "Mind your pints and quarts, and settle down." It's where we get the phrase "mind your P's and Q's." Most people think, however, that it comes from the fact that a lower-case p and a lower case q are mirror images.          

6. Many years ago, the mugs in English pubs had a whistle molded into the ceramic cups, and customers used these to call for a refill. It's where we get the phrase "wet your whistle."

7. Clans of long ago that wanted to get rid of unwanted people without killing them would burn their houses down, hence the expression "to get fired."

8. The term "the whole 9 yards" came from WWII fighter pilots. When arming their airplanes on the ground, the .50 caliber machine gun ammo belts measured exactly 27 feet, before being loaded into the fuselage. If the pilots fired all their ammo at a target, it got "the whole 9 yards."

9. Dr. Seuss invented the word "nerd" in his 1950 book "If I Ran the Zoo."

10. The name Wendy was made up for the book "Peter Pan."