Etymology and Word Origins
Quiz
The story goes that a Dublin theatre proprietor by the name of Richard Daly
made a bet that he could, within forty-eight h...
Quiz
According to legend a man
named Leofric taxed the people
of Coventry heavily. His wife,
lady Godiva, begged him not to.
Le...
Peeping Tom
X (319-272 BC) was one of the
greatest Greek generals of the
Hellenistic era. His greatest
political weaknesses were the
f...
Pyrrhic victory
In medieval music, the Guidonian hand was a mnemonic
used to assist singers to learn how to sing by viewing notes,
in whic...
Gamut – that came from
“Gamma+ut”
This familiar word comes from an alteration of the
Middle English for odour or taste, and is derived in
turn from a Middle...
Relish
This term was originally applied in the
19th century to describe plays dealing
with contemporary moral and social
issues a...
Problem Plays
The phrase X has entered common use as
a reference to an unpleasant situation that
continually repeats, or seems to.
In th...
Groundhog Day
The current name came about almost by chance,
according to a tale recounted in Windsor Revisited,
written by HRH The Duke ...
Tweeds from River Tweed
Amitav Ghosh, in his new
book River of Smoke, traces
the origin of this common
Hindi word to a Portuguese
word meaning ‘la...
Faltu from Falto
This word was from a Hindi word meaning press.
This word was used during the 18th century by
the Europeans who were in the...
Shampoo from Campo
This word came from the
name of a city in west India.
The men in this city wore a
type of garment. In late
19th century, t...
Jodhpurs
The name has its origins in a Test match played
between the West Indies and England at Old Trafford,
Manchester, in the ye...
China man
This phrase X has its origin in
the following Biblical verse
Jeremiah 11:19:
But I was like a gentle X; And I
did not know...
Lamb to the slaughter
The term was coined by Ludwig August von Rochau, a
German writer and politician in the 19th century,
following Klemens Met...
Realpolitik
This motorsport which
essentially comprises of a
series of timed stunts
done in a predetermined
order owes its name
eventu...
Motorkhana, derived from
Gymkhana, which in turn comes
from ‘Gendkhana’
___ _____ is a derogatory term used to refer to
appropriation of government spending for localized
projects which benefit ...
Pork barrel
John Dennis, a popular English critic playwright of the
1700s, wrote a play called Appius & Virginia
Story goes that Denni...
The phrase “Steal my Thunder”.
On December 8, 1869 Leopold and Fanny (both writers)
signed a contract making Leopold the slave of Fanny Pistor
Bogdanoff ...
Leopold’s full name
was Leopold Von
Sacher Masoch. His
last name inspired
the term
“Masochism”
First used in late 14th century, the word in Homeric
Greek means "pure, fresh air" or "clear sky", imagined
in Greek mytho...
Ether
. According to the Oxford English
Dictionary, the word dates to the mid-
17th century. The word X can be
traced to Urdu ‫ق...
Coolie
Some reports date the phrase from 1769 when it is said that a
seaman called George Wood confessed to a chaplain in Newgate...
Walk the Plank
This phrase is the modern English for the Old
English term for Ragnarök, the great
catastrophe of Norse mythology. The ter...
Crack of doom
It originally meant "provider
of shelter, innkeeper" and
later "one sent ahead to
arrange lodgings" (for a
monarch, an arm...
Harbinger
X is said to originate from the Cantonese dialect for
the word 快快 (kuài kuài) which is said to urge
someone to hurry up. K...
Chop-chop
X in its oldest form has now gone out of regular use
and has been replaced by its modern compatriot . It is
first found in...
Vice Versa
Odysseus learns from the blind
seer Tiresias that he must
journey through a strait where
the path breaks into two; no
matt...
Caught between rock and hard
place
or
Caught between Scylla and
Charybdis
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  1. 1. Etymology and Word Origins Quiz
  2. 2. The story goes that a Dublin theatre proprietor by the name of Richard Daly made a bet that he could, within forty-eight hours, make a nonsense word known throughout the city, and that the public would supply a meaning for it. After a performance one evening, he gave his staff cards with the word X written on them, and told them to write the word on walls around the city. The next day the strange word was the talk of the town, and within a short time it had become part of the language. The most detailed account of this supposed exploit (in F. T. Porter's Gleanings and Reminiscences, 1875) gives its date as 1791. The word, however, was already in use by then, and had been used by Fanny Burney in her diary entry for 24 June 1782. What is the word?
  3. 3. Quiz
  4. 4. According to legend a man named Leofric taxed the people of Coventry heavily. His wife, lady Godiva, begged him not to. Leofric said he would end the tax if she rode through the streets of Coventry naked. So she did. Everybody in Coventry was supposed to stay indoors with his or her shutters closed. However _____ _____ had a sneaky look at Godiva and was struck blind. What nickname commonly given to voyeurs arose from this story?
  5. 5. Peeping Tom
  6. 6. X (319-272 BC) was one of the greatest Greek generals of the Hellenistic era. His greatest political weaknesses were the failure to maintain focus and the failure to maintain a strong treasury at home. His name is famous for the phrase Y which refers to an exchange at the Battle of Asculum. The battle, though successful, cost him heavy losses, from which the term Y was coined. In response to congratulations for winning a costly victory over the Romans, he is reported to have said: "One more such victory will undo me!”. What is the phrase Y?
  7. 7. Pyrrhic victory
  8. 8. In medieval music, the Guidonian hand was a mnemonic used to assist singers to learn how to sing by viewing notes, in which each portion of the hand represented a specific note within the hexachord system. The lowest note in this scale was represented by the Greek letter γ followed by ‘ut’ and would span 3 octaves. This notation gave rise to a word that was initially used in music to represent the entire musical scale but has gone on to be used beyond music as well. What word?
  9. 9. Gamut – that came from “Gamma+ut”
  10. 10. This familiar word comes from an alteration of the Middle English for odour or taste, and is derived in turn from a Middle French term meaning something left behind, or released. What noun, more familiar to us as verb?
  11. 11. Relish
  12. 12. This term was originally applied in the 19th century to describe plays dealing with contemporary moral and social issues and has been used to describe the work of Ibsen, John Galsworthy and GB Shaw’s early efforts. In 1896, F.S. Boas used this term to describe these Shakespeare plays, because they apparently brought a harshness not seen in any of his comedies to bear upon the interconnections between private and public morality. What term?
  13. 13. Problem Plays
  14. 14. The phrase X has entered common use as a reference to an unpleasant situation that continually repeats, or seems to. In the military, referring to unpleasant, unchanging, repetitive situations as “X ”. A magazine article about the aircraft carrier USS America mentions its use by sailors in September 1993. X was a favourite one among the Rangers deployed for Operation Gothic Serpent in Somalia in 1993, because they saw X as a metaphor of their own situation, waiting long periods between raids and monotonous long days. Give the phrase X.
  15. 15. Groundhog Day
  16. 16. The current name came about almost by chance, according to a tale recounted in Windsor Revisited, written by HRH The Duke of Windsor. About 1830, a London merchant received a letter from a Hawick firm about some tweels. The London merchant misinterpreted the handwriting, understanding it to be a trade-name taken from the name of the river which flows through the Scottish Borders textile areas. Subsequently the goods were advertised as X and the name has remained so ever since. Give X.
  17. 17. Tweeds from River Tweed
  18. 18. Amitav Ghosh, in his new book River of Smoke, traces the origin of this common Hindi word to a Portuguese word meaning ‘lacking’ or ‘deficient in character’. A related English word, meaning mistake is also known to exist. It is also the title of this Bollywood film released in 2011. Which word?
  19. 19. Faltu from Falto
  20. 20. This word was from a Hindi word meaning press. This word was used during the 18th century by the Europeans who were in the Turkish baths. This is basically a word to give instruction to the masseur to press and massage. Somehow or rather along the way, the word became X. Give X.
  21. 21. Shampoo from Campo
  22. 22. This word came from the name of a city in west India. The men in this city wore a type of garment. In late 19th century, the English used similar type of garments, i.e. trousers that are loose above the knee and tight from the knee to ankle, worn when riding a horse. What is the word?
  23. 23. Jodhpurs
  24. 24. The name has its origins in a Test match played between the West Indies and England at Old Trafford, Manchester, in the year 1933. Elliss “Puss” Achong , was a leftarm orthodox spinner, playing for the West Indies at the time. According to folklore, Achong is said to have had Walter Robbins stumped off a surprise delivery that spun into the righthander from outside the off stump. As he walked back to the pavilion, Robbins said to his teammates "Fancy being done by a bloody_______!", leading to the popularity of the term in England, and subsequently, in the rest of the world. What term?
  25. 25. China man
  26. 26. This phrase X has its origin in the following Biblical verse Jeremiah 11:19: But I was like a gentle X; And I did not know that they had devised plots against me, "Let us destroy the tree with its fruit, And let us cut him off from the land of the living, That his name be remembered no more." The allusion to the especial helplessness of _____ was made use of in this 1991 film. What is the phrase X?
  27. 27. Lamb to the slaughter
  28. 28. The term was coined by Ludwig August von Rochau, a German writer and politician in the 19th century, following Klemens Metternich's lead in finding ways to balance the power of European empires. The term refers to politics or diplomacy based primarily on practical considerations, rather than ideological notions. The term is often used pejoratively to imply politics that are coercive, amoral or Machiavellian. What is the term?
  29. 29. Realpolitik
  30. 30. This motorsport which essentially comprises of a series of timed stunts done in a predetermined order owes its name eventually to the Hindi word meaning ‘Ball House’. What is this sport called?
  31. 31. Motorkhana, derived from Gymkhana, which in turn comes from ‘Gendkhana’
  32. 32. ___ _____ is a derogatory term used to refer to appropriation of government spending for localized projects which benefit only the representative’s constituency/district. The term may have originated in the US during the pre- Civil War days when slaves were given 1 salt ____ ____ as reward and requiring them to compete amongst themselves to get their share of the handout. In an 1863 story by Edward Hale, the term began to be associated with public spending for the citizenry. What term?
  33. 33. Pork barrel
  34. 34. John Dennis, a popular English critic playwright of the 1700s, wrote a play called Appius & Virginia Story goes that Dennis developed a unique background effect for the stage during the play but the play was cancelled by the theatre due to lack of audience When Dennis returned to the theatre for another play, he saw his effect being used without permission and exclaimed: “That’s my _____, by God! The villains will play my ____ but not my play!” What phrase did English language gain due to this incident?
  35. 35. The phrase “Steal my Thunder”.
  36. 36. On December 8, 1869 Leopold and Fanny (both writers) signed a contract making Leopold the slave of Fanny Pistor Bogdanoff for the period of six months. The stipulation on the contract stated that the Baroness (as Fanny called herself) wear furs as often as possible especially when she was in a bad mood. Leopold would be disguised as a servant and travel in the 3rd class while Fanny would travel in the 1st class. The real life contract served as the base for a novel in which the character represented by Fanny acquired a lover to arouse jealousy in the character represented by Leopold. What is the significance of this story?(Looking for a specific word)
  37. 37. Leopold’s full name was Leopold Von Sacher Masoch. His last name inspired the term “Masochism”
  38. 38. First used in late 14th century, the word in Homeric Greek means "pure, fresh air" or "clear sky", imagined in Greek mythology to be the pure essence where the gods lived and which they breathed, analogous to the air breathed by mortals. It corresponds to the concept of Akasha in Hindu philosophy and is linked to Brihaspati (or the planet Jupiter) and the centre direction of the compass. This word and the concept it stood for was very influential in the Greek (and hence the whole) scientific world. What word?
  39. 39. Ether
  40. 40. . According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word dates to the mid- 17th century. The word X can be traced to Urdu ‫قلی‬ word. This Urdu form has an initial uvular velar, which indicates its foreign origin. It is probably a borrowing from a Turkic language (via Persian), possibly a shortening of Arabic ghulam "servant". The Chinese word 苦力 literally means "bitterly hard (use of) strength", the Mandarin pronunciation, in Cantonese, the term is 咕喱 .The word is referred as an Asian slave. What is the term?
  41. 41. Coolie
  42. 42. Some reports date the phrase from 1769 when it is said that a seaman called George Wood confessed to a chaplain in Newgate Prison the he and his shipmates had forced others to commit something. These reports derive from Douglas Botting's authoritative book The Pirates, 1978. Botting himself doesn't set much store by it, describing the 'alleged confession' as 'an obscure account ... which may or may not be true, and in any case had nothing to do with pirates'. There are documentary records of the phrase's use dating from the late 18th century. What is the phrase?
  43. 43. Walk the Plank
  44. 44. This phrase is the modern English for the Old English term for Ragnarök, the great catastrophe of Norse mythology. The term became used for the Christian Day of Judgement, as by William Shakespeare in Macbeth: Thou art too like the spirit of Banquo: down! Thy crown does sear mine eye-balls. And thy hair, Thou other gold-bound brow, is like the first. A third is like the former. Filthy hags! Why do you show me this? A fourth! Start, eyes! What, will the line stretch out to ____ __ ____? This appealed to Tolkien as can be seen in The Lord of the Rings. What is the phrase?
  45. 45. Crack of doom
  46. 46. It originally meant "provider of shelter, innkeeper" and later "one sent ahead to arrange lodgings" (for a monarch, an army, etc.) It is this usage which has led to today’s sense of the word – an omen, or a forerunner. What word? Hint for DOTA players
  47. 47. Harbinger
  48. 48. X is said to originate from the Cantonese dialect for the word 快快 (kuài kuài) which is said to urge someone to hurry up. Kuai means hurry in Chinese. The earliest known citation of X in print is from the English language newspaper that was printed in Canton in the early 19th century - The Canton Register, 13 May 1834: "We have also... ‘____ _____ hurry'." What is the term?
  49. 49. Chop-chop
  50. 50. X in its oldest form has now gone out of regular use and has been replaced by its modern compatriot . It is first found in Richard Taverner's Prouerbes ,gathered out of the Chiliades of Erasmus: "Ye set the cart before the horse - clean contrarily and ____ _____ as they say." X is found in print quite early, as in Anthony Copley's An answer to a letter by his cousin : "They are like to bee put to such a penance and the Arch-Priests X to be suspended and attained as Schismatically." In 1915, the psychologist Edgar Rubin created a cognitive illusion that is a visual equivalent of the phrase. Sadly, being Danish, Rubin described the conundrum as a 'synsoplevede figurer' (visual figure). Give the phrase X.
  51. 51. Vice Versa
  52. 52. Odysseus learns from the blind seer Tiresias that he must journey through a strait where the path breaks into two; no matter what path he and his crew choose, Tiresias forebodes, the outcome will be equally perilous. For on one side is the Scylla monster who gobbles up his men like chickens and on the other side is a gaping whirlpool with teeth called the Charybdis, which swallows his men alive. What popular phrase arises from this?
  53. 53. Caught between rock and hard place or Caught between Scylla and Charybdis
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