Words Facts 4

  • OK is the most successful of all Americanisms. It has invaded hundreds of other languages and been adopted by them as a word. Mencken claims that US troops deployed overseas during WWII found it already in use by Bedouins in the Sahara to the Japanese in the Pacific. It was also the fourth word spoken on the surface of the moon. It stands for oll korrect, a misspelling of all correct.
  • When Coca-Cola began to be sold in China, they used characters that would sound like “Coca-Cola” when spoken. Unfortunately, what they turned out to mean was “Bite the wax tadpole”.
  • Clans of long ago that wanted to get rid of their unwanted people without killing them used to burn their houses down – hence the expression “to get fired.”
  • Pokemon stands for “pocket monster.”
  • The name Ethiopia mean “land of sunburned faces” in Greek.
  • A coward was originally a boy who took care of cows.
  • MAFIA is an acronym for Morte Alla Francia Italia Anela, or “Death to the French is Italy’s Cry”
  • The Sanskrit word for “war” means “desire for more cows.”
  • When a film is in production, the last shot of the day is the “martini shot,” the next to last one is the “Abby Singer”.
  • “Hara kiri” is an impolite way of saying the Japanese word “seppuku” which means, literally, “belly splitting.”
  • A bird watching term: peebeegeebee = a pied-billed grebe.
  • “Big cheese” and “big wheel” are Medieval terms of envious respect for those who could afford to buy whole wheels of cheese at a time, an expense few could enjoy. Both these terms are often used sarcastically today.
  • When two words are combined to form a single word (e.g., motor + hotel = motel, breakfast + lunch = brunch) the new word is called a “portmanteau.”
  • The slash character is called a virgule, or solidus. A URL uses slash characters, not back slash characters.
  • “Corduroy” comes from the French, “cord du roi” or “cloth of the king.”
  • In the Greek alphabet “X” is the first letter for the word Christ, “Xristos.” Xmas means “Christ’s mass.”
  • If you come from Manchester, you are a Mancunian.
  • There are six words in the English language with the letter combination “uu.” Muumuu, vacuum, continuum, duumvirate, duumvir and residuum.
  • The abbreviation “ORD” for Chicago’s O’Hare airport comes from the old name “Orchard Field.”