May 23, 2019

Random Thursday

Time to learn the meaning behind some words again! Let's see what Doug Lennox's The Little Book of Answers has to teach us today!

(image borrowed from Tri-City Herald)
"Curfew" comes from the French "couvre-feu" which means "cover-fire." William the Conqueror brought the word to England. The original Curfew Law minimized the risk of fire by making a rule that a bell be rung at eight o'clock at night telling everyone it was time to put out their home fires. When there was political unrest, the same bell would be rung to basically tell people to clear the streets and stay home for the night.

That's an interesting history to curfews!

(image borrowed from Brain Skewer)
In 1973, Norman Mailer introduced the word "factoid"--one of my favorite words, lol--in his book, Marilyn. The suffix "-oid" means "resembling but not identical to." Basically making a word that means something that looks like a fact, but really isn't. Factoids are made from rumors; journalists use them to create a story where there is none to be found.

Okay. That totally just change my view on factoid! I thought it was something that was fact, but something so minor that it just got the "-oid" adding to it! Lol. idea why I thought that!

(image borrowed from Wikipedia)
"Mayday" is used as an aviation call for help that comes from the French who were the leading pioneers in flight. French were flying long before Britain and the United States. So when parachutes and radios were introduced into the mix, it was the French who started calling "M'aidex" or "help me" in times of distress that eventually was Anglicized to "Mayday!" as an international call of distress.

That's interesting! I guess I never gave thought to where or what "Mayday" came from.

(image borrowed from Quora)
When there's an excess of something, we call it a "backlog," and while that can mean a pile-up of work to be done and be seen as "bad," it was actually something good a long time ago. Before we had stoves or matches, one used a kitchen fireplace for the cooking and a log was always kept lit in back. That way when it was time to cook something in the morning the embers from the backlog would help get the new morning fire started.

Definitely does give a positive view on a backlog now!

(image borrowed from Tarmac)
The asphalt that we sometimes call "tarmac" was actually invented by chance. E. Purnell Hooley, an Englishman, accidentally spilled some tar onto crushed stone that soon created a black pavement. Hooley named this new pavement by using the last name of Scotsman John McAdam who had developed the pavement of crushed stone and added the prefix "tar." But since "tarmacadam" is a mouthful it was soon shortened to "tarmac" and Hooley patented the name in 1903.

That's an interesting story! Although now I really want to correct people when they call it "tarmac" and say, no it's "tarmacadam!" LOL!

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