Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Monday, January 5, 2015

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Literal Meanings of 30 English Words

AMETHYST literally means "not drunk." Because the stones were once believed to help prevent drunkenness, the name amethyst comes from a Greek word, methyskein, meaning "to make drunk" (which is itself a derivative of the Greek for 'wine', methys).

ANEMONE means "daughter of the wind." Sea anemones are named for the anemone flower, which was supposed by the Ancient Greeks to only open when the wind blew.

BANKRUPT means "broken bench." A 16th century corruption of the Italian banca cotta, meaning "broken" or "wrecked bench." According to Samuel Johnson, Italian moneylenders would supposedly break the bench at which they carried out their work to show that they had gone out of business.

CALAMARI means "pen-like." The name calamari originally referred to cuttlefish not squid, and it was probably the cuttlefish's tough, quill-shaped shell (and the fact that it seemed to be full of ink) that led to its name being adopted from calamus, a Latin word for "pen".

CASINO means "little house." A casino was originally a music hall or dance hall, where all kinds of different entertainments would be performed. It was a popular gamblers' card game called cassino (spelled with two Ss) that helped to alter its meaning in the early 1700s.

CONSPIRE means "to breathe together." The -spire of words like conspire, transpire, perspire and inspire is the Latin spirare, meaning "to blow" or "breathe." To conflate, incidentally, means "to blow together," while to conscript means "to write together."

CUL-DE-SAC means "bottom of the bag." Originally an anatomical term for a tube or sac open only at one end. Its use in reference to a dead end or to a road with no exit dates from the early 1800s.

CURFEW means "fire-cover." In Medieval France, rules were put in place to ensure that all candles, torches and stoves were extinguished at a certain time each night to prevent fires breaking out while everyone was asleep. In the sense of a daily directive brought into operation at a designated time, these rules - originally known as couvres-feux - ultimately became curfews in English.

GYMNASIUM means "place to train naked." Athletes in Ancient Greece trained in the nude, so words like gymnasium and gymnastics were taken from gymnos, the Greek word for "naked." Gymnophobia, incidentally, is a fear of being nude.

ICEBERG means "ice mountain." The Dutch word ijsberg was borrowed into English in the mid 1700s. Before then, icebergs had been known as icemounts.

IMPEDE means "to shackle the feet." The -pede is the same as in pedicure and pedometer.

INNUENDO means "giving a nod to." Derived from the Latin innuere, meaning "to nod", innuendo originally referred to any remark made parenthetically or tangentially.

KALEIDOSCOPE means "viewer of beautiful things." So named by its inventor, the Scottish physicist and mathematician Sir David Brewster, in 1817.

LADY means "bread-maker." Lady is a derivative of the Old English word hlæfdige, which is itself a compound of hlaf, meaning "bread" or "dough", and dæge, an Old English word for a housemaid or servant. It probably originally referred to the female head of a household, whose task it would once have been to prepare the day's bread.

MANGA means "wandering pictures." Manga was coined by the Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai as far back as the early 1800s to describe a spontaneous and free-flowing style of drawing.

MEDIOCRE means "halfway up a mountain." In Latin, mediocris meant "of ordinary stature or standing". Its literal meaning (derived from okris, a Latin word for a rugged mountaintop) was probably figurative, in the sense of something being neither one thing nor another.

ORANGUTAN means "man of the forest." The name is Malay. It's possible that it was originally used by local tribes to describe other tribesmen who lived in the forest, but was mistakenly taken to refer to the great apes of the forest by European explorers in the late 1600s.

PANDEMONIUM - "place of all demons." Milton coined the word pandemonium as the name of the capital of Hell in Paradise Lost.

PRECOCIOUS means "ripening early." Hence it's used to refer to a child who seems bolder or more articulate than their age suggests.

PREPOSTEROUS means "before-behind." The preposterousness of preposterous comes from the fact that it combines two oxymoronic roots: the Latin prae, meaning "before", and posterus, meaning "after" or "subsequent to".

PREVARICATE means "to walk awkwardly." It comes from the Latin varicare, which was variously used to mean "to straddle", "to stretch the legs", or "to bend outwards". In English, prevaricate originally meant "to deviate from" or "to go transgress", and hence "to dawdle".

RANSACK means "search the house." Dating back to the mid 1200s at least, ransack is a compound of the Old Norse words for "house", rann, and "search", saka.

REDUNDANT means "full to overflowing." In the sense that trying to fill a container that is already full is literally redundant. The root of the word is the Latin verb undare, meaning "to rise and fall like waves".

REHEARSE means "to replow a field." The -hearse of rehearse is an old French word for a harrow, a pronged plow that turns the soil over as it is dragged across the surface.

SCHMALTZ means "melted fat." Borrowed into English from Yiddish, schmaltz is a derivative of an old German word, smalzen, meaning "to melt".

TELEPATHY means "feeling from afar." It was coined by the English psychologist Frederic Myers in 1882. The prefix tele- (as in telephone and television) implies distance, while the suffix -pathy implies a feeling or sensation (as in pathos and sympathy).

ULTRAMARINE means "beyond the sea." It originally specifically referred to the blue color of lapis lazuli stones, which were imported into Europe across the Mediterranean Sea from Asia.

VIDEO means "I see." If you know Latin, then you'll know that video is the first person singular present indicative of the verb videre, meaning "to see". Audio, incidentally, is the same conjugation of audire, meaning "to hear" or "listen".

VODKA means "little water." It was borrowed into English from Russian in the early 1800s.

WINDOW means "eye of the wind." Adopted in English from Scandinavia in the 13th century, window is a compound of the Norse words vindr, meaning "wind", and agua, meaning "eye."

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Sunday, October 12, 2014


Ever wonder why Dawn Dishwashing Liquid is the wildlife cleaner of choice after an oil spill? According to the International Bird Rescue Research Center, Dawn effectively removes grease but does not cause harm to the skin of the birds. It’s also biodegradable and contains no phosphates.

According to Bubbles.org, Dawn dishwashing liquid makes great homemade bubbles. Here is the Giant Bubble Recipe used in bubble makers at many children’s museums: 1/2 cup Ultra Dawn 1/2 gallon warm water 1 tablespoon glycerin (available at any drug store) OR White Karo syrup works too! Stir gently. Skim the foam off the top of the solution (too much foam breaks down the bubbles). Dip bubble wand and get ready for some good, clean fun!

Kids get into the darnedest things! Like Vaseline and baby oil rubbed into their hair! Dawn is mild enough to use on their hair and strong enough to remove the most stubborn grease.

Once a month use original Dawn as you would shampoo. It will remove excess oil from your hair and scalp and strip away any build-up of styling products without any damage. Perform this once a month and you won’t have to buy expensive salon products that do the same thing.

Soak fingers in full-strength blue Dawn. It makes the cuticles soft and easy to work with. And it removes the natural oil from the fingernails, which allows the polish to adhere very well.

A safe, effective way to repel insects from your houseplants, including aphids, spider mites and mealy bugs. Put a drop of Dawn Dishwashing Liquid in a spray bottle, fill the rest of the bottle with water, shake well, and mist your household plants with the soapy water.

Try this recipe from Merry Maids: mix 3 drops Dawn in 1 gallon water and fill a spray bottle with the solution. Spritz and wipe as you would with any window cleaner.

Use it to bathe the dogs. It kills fleas on contact and is much cheaper than expensive dog shampoos.

After you have finished your automotive repair project, soak your dirty tools in Dawn before you put them away to remove all the oil and grime. Dawn also helps prevent rust from forming on the tools.

Partially fill a strong zip-type sandwich bag with Dawn dishwashing liquid, close and freeze. The liquid soap stays cold much longer and it can be re-frozen many times. It will conform to the place you need an ice pack.

Take a spray bottle and fill it halfway with white vinegar. Heat in the microwave. Fill the rest of the way with blue Dawn. Put lid on and shake to mix well. Spray on your tub and shower walls. Allow to sit for a few minutes and rinse away. It will totally melt all the gunk, slime, sludge and other stuff that builds up including a bathtub ring.

Spray counter-tops, cupboards and any other area where you see ants with a solution of Dawn and water. Wipe dry. The slight residue of Dawn that remains will not be a problem at all for kids or pets, but ants hate it. Should you see a trail of ants, go ahead and hit them with the Dawn spray.

Add a squirt or two of original Dawn dish soap to your washer and run a hot wash, then rinse until there are no more bubbles. Dawn is a degreasing agent and helps stripping by removing oily residue. Be sure to rinse, rinse, rinse until the water runs clear.

A cup of Dawn detergent poured into a clogged toilet allowed to sit for 15 minutes and then followed with a bucket of hot water poured from waist height will clear out the toilet.

Poison ivy spreads through the spread of the oil within the blisters. Washing the affected area with Dawn, especially on children who keep scratching the blister’s open, helps dry up the fluid, AND keep it from spreading.

If you have gasoline or motor oil stains on your driveway, you can use the kitty litter method to clean up the excess oil and then use a scrub broom and a solution of biodegradable Dawn dishwashing detergent and warm water to safely and effectively remove excess motor oil from the pavement.

Dawn makes a great facial cleanser for oily skin. A drop or two combined with warm water will do the trick.

Dawn combined with corn oil makes for the perfect paint or grease remover. Simply combine a little bit of both in your hands then rub it over affected areas. The corn oil and the dishwashing liquid both help to dissolve the grease and paint – yet leave skin soft, unlike harsher paint removers.

Plastic wading pools can get very gunky, very fast. Dump the water, then scrub the pool with Dawn and a sponge. More potent cleaners like bleach will weaken and dry out the plastic in the sun.

Merry Maids recommends using a drop of Dawn in water to clean ceramic tile and no-wax/linoleum floors. You can also use the spray on:
• Bathroom and kitchen counters and sinks.
• Woodwork, e.g., baseboards, shelves, and wainscoting. (Dry as you go–wood doesn’t like prolonged contact with water.)
• Tubs and toilet seats.

For oil-based stains such as lipstick, grease, butter, motor oil, cooking oil, and some pen inks, simply apply some Dawn dishwashing liquid directly to the stain and scrub with a small brush or toothbrush until the oil is removed, and then launder as usual.

Sliding glass doors, door knobs, hinges etc. It lasts much longer than any aerosol type spray that I have tried. And Its non-toxic! It does a great job of cleaning the parts that its lubricating as well!

For icy steps and sidewalks in freezing temperatures, mix 1 teaspoon of Dawn dishwashing liquid, 1 tablespoon of rubbing alcohol, and 1/2 gallon hot/warm water and pour over walkways. They won’t refreeze. No more salt eating at the concrete in your sidewalks

Squirt Dawn down the middle of the pool and all of the dirt, suntan lotion, etc. will move to the edges of the pool for easy clean up! AND it makes the pools sparkle.

Simply rub a small drop of Dawn on eyeglass lenses, and wipe clean. It will leave a very thin film that will prevent them from fogging up.

Cover greasy footprints on shower floors with a coating of Dawn; let sit overnight. Scrub away the gunk in the morning with a stiff brush.

Mix two tablespoons Dawn to a gallon of water and put in your sprayer. Try to get spray both sides of the leaves, branches and the tree trunks. Let sit for about 15 minutes and then rinse the trees THOROUGHLY!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014