Originally, a rain check was a voucher given to spectators who missed out on a baseball game due to rain. The fan would be allowed to return again to watch another game. This term was used as early as 1884. Soon, the term spread to other sporting events and then to any item that was not immediately available.
I heard the term, Hoi Polloi, used in the movie Hairspray and recently I heard it used by a newscaster as well. Since I had no idea what it meant, I decided to look it up. Hoi Polloi is a term used as a disparaging remark referring to “the people” or “the masses.” It is a greek term and James Fenimore Cooper (who wrote The Last of the Mohicans) is credited with being the first to introduce it in English writing.
Sour grapes was originally thought to originate from the Aesop Fable The Fox and the Grapes. The Fox, upon not being able to reach the grapes, declares them sour so as to pretend to avoid his own disappointment. One of the translations goes like this:
A famished Fox saw some clusters of ripe black grapes hanging from a trellised vine. She resorted to all her tricks to get at them, but wearied herself in vain, for she could not reach them. At last she turned away, beguiling herself of her disappointment, and saying: “The Grapes are sour, and not ripe as I thought.
The phrase also appears in the Bible in Ezekiel. The question is, did the term enter the English language from the fable or the Bible?
The term OK can not be searched back to any one original source. AskOxford suggests:
Most of them are undoubtedly pure speculation. It does not seem at all likely, from the linguistic and historical evidence, that it derives from the Scots expression ‘och aye’, the Greek ola kala (’it is good’), the Choctaw Indian oke or okeh (’it is so’), the French aux Cayes (’from Cayes’, a port in Haiti with a reputation for good rum) or au quai (’to the quay’, as supposedly used by French-speaking dockers), or the initials of a railway freight agent called Obediah Kelly who is said to have written them on lading documents he had checked.
It can be found in written form in 1814 meaning Old Kinderhook, which was used as a nickname for Martin Van Buren in his re-election campaing. Supporters formed the OK Club.
Others have speculated that the term came to wide use in the 1930s when there was a preponderance for humorous misspelling of words. The term all correct, was spelled as orl korrekt, leading to the abbreviation ok.
The term Cowabunga was originally used by the television character Chief Thunderthud on the Howdy Doody Show. The host of the show, “Buffalo Bob” Smith, said this about the term:
As far as I know, our Howdy Doody writer, Eddie Kean “made up” the word Kawabonga—which Chief Thunderthud used when things were bad. When he was happy he said another original word, Kawagoopa.
Today, a red herring refers to a deliberate misdirection. Red herrings were used in hunting by poachers. Poachers would drag a red herring across the path between the prey and the hunting party. The scent of the herring would throw off the dogs, since the smell of fish was often used in training hunting dogs. The first use of red herring as a misdirection appeared in the Liverpool Daily Post of 11 July 1884:
The talk of revolutionary dangers is a mere red-herring.
No, not really love, but love as in nothing, the score that starts all tennis games. How did the term originate? Some believe that it was adapted from the phrase “to play for love of the game”. Basically to play for nothing. Others believe that it comes from the French word l’oeuf meaning an egg. I guess an egg resembles a zero?
So yesterday I was busy fixing my computer and cables and trying to attach some cable ties to get it all in order when one of my children told me about boy problems she was having. The look on her face instantly brought to mind the quote:
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned
Will the quote is sometimes attributed to Shakespeare, it is actually from a play called The Mourning Bride, written in 1697 by william Congreve. The entire quote is:
Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned / Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned
Congreve (1670-1729) was considered a classic of Restoration comedy, way before spray paint was invented!
Since I recently talked about the word pimple, I started wondering where the word zit comes from. Almost every teenager has bought, at one point in their lives, a zit remedy without once knowing what the term even refers to.
No one really knows the origin, but it seems that it originated in the 1960s and may have come from the German word “Zitse” which means teat or nipple. I guess zits can look like that sometimes!
Pimples come in many shape and forms and the clinical terms include acne, nodular acne and acne vuglaris. No one knows where the term pimple originated from, but some think that it may have come from the Old English word pipligende, which means having shingles and originated around 1400. Since both skin conditions can cause bumps, the term could have been used interchangeably for any kind of bumpy skin condition.