Why is something disgusting said to be “Gross”?

Gross was a prejudging way to call obese or overweight people. Gross is from a latin word, more specifically “grossus“, it’s meaning can be thick or large. In the 14th century that word spawned another word which was grocer, which meant a merchant who sold tons of items. See the connection between that grocer word and grocery? Yes they have a history together. To a man studying in finance gross means “without deductions”. To “Gross Out” in the emotion sense means being disgusted by something really over the top, the expression came to be in our standard language around 1960s.

There is an insect in Africa which is called Ptyelus Grossus, it is suppose to be one of the most disgusting things to look at. The images might not horrify you but seeing them in real will turn your stomach upside down.

Why is a timid person said to have “cold feet”?

To have cold feet means to lose your nerve when facing a dangerous predicament. It’s meaning changed from nervous to coward centuries ago. This is a bit harsh because everyone’s body extremities become cold when nervous, not only of cowards. When the body knows you’re about to fight or run, it transfers all the blood into the vital organs instead of spreading it around like normally.

Did you know that there is no substance that can replace blood in your body and that 7% of your current body weight is blood, also an average adult has 14-18 pints of blood inside his body.

Why do we say “rise and shine” in the morning?

When we want to wake someone up in the morning we say to them “rise and shine”. But do they actually do rise and shine? and where does this weird English expression come from?

The Marine Way

The term was born in the marines rigorous camps. The men who wanted to become marines need to wake up really early in the morning, a person would go in the barracks and would shout “rise and shine”, which would mean for the others to wake up and clean their boots for checking. Did you know the marines were created in the 1700s. They were used to fight alongside the British Forces, before coming into their own.

How Come”back to square one” means starting over?

There are many different explanations for the origins of this word. Like when you’re playing snakes n’ ladders and you get on a snake square, you get to start all over again by going down. Some say that it originated in that game of snakes and ladders but others believe it was football commentary that created the word.

BBC Soccer

This theory says that the word was invented thanks to BBC Radio Commenting on soccer games. The station gave maps to listeners so when they talked about the game they had a better idea what was going on. When they said the ball is back to square one it meant the ball was near to the team’s goalkeeper so they had all the pitch run over to attack.

There are many other theories but to be this one seems the most reasonable. Football(soccer) has always been big in England and fans always want to know what’s going on with their team, so the map part seems very plausible to me. This occurred in the 1930s.

Why is it when we lose we are forced to say “uncle”?

Germania, personification of Germany

This a western thing mainly in the States and Canada. When someone is defeated in a competition, mostly combats and fights of some sorts, the loser will be forced to say uncle. Which is a sign of defeat and a way to ask for mercy. The expression started in the 19th century. The expression shows the Republican defeating the Libertarian in a physical overpowering manner. The chauvinist republican would force the Liberal to say uncle, a reference to Uncle Sam which represents all that’s good and American.

Did you know that other countries have national personifications like the USA’s Uncle Sam. Not all countries but most countries that had some kind of revolutions in the country have the norm of national personifications.

Why do we say “the rule of thumb”?

When we want to measure or do something specific in a certain way we will that’s the rule of thumb. But what does it actually mean and where did come from? In the year of 1976 not only the cold war ended but NOW magazine published an article talking about the origins of this expression. They said the expressions spurred in 1782, an English judge said “a man should have the right to beat his wife with a stick as thick as his thumb”. Though there is no truth behind this statement made by the judge. Actually the truth is much more simpler and happier. The reference is used when with no scientific knowledge to prove otherwise. The rule is often used to describe vague things, imprecise things. Much like the thumb which is not a real instrument of measurement.

Why do we say “lock and load” when getting ready?

The expression “lock and load”, we often say that before preparing to do something dangerous. Though where does the expression come from? And what did it actually mean before the current sense. It all spurred from the American G.Is during the Second World War. They said the expression when they loaded their M1 rifles prior to a tough task. The phrase has a simple meaning, inserting a full ammunition clip then lock the bolt straight, pressuring a round into the chamber. The initial expression was “load and lock” but when the All American, John Wayne mixed the words up a new expression was born in the English lexicon “lock and load”. John Wayne had mixed up the expression in the movie The Sands Of Iwo Jima, the expression has stayed since.

Did you know in the movie The Sands Of Iwo Jima, John Wayne and the rest of the characters did get to reinact the famous scene of rising the American flag on Mount Suribachi. The real great detail about that is, they did use the original flag that was mounted. They had to borrow it from a Museum in Virginia.

Why do we call some people “black sheeps”?

Whenever we see someone in a pack of friends but he seems to not belong with them, we call that person a black sheep. Or when our favorite team has a player who doesn’t want to cooperate with the rest of the team. What about one of the siblings who doesn’t achieve any success and is a lazy bum unlike the rest of the family. Most families have at least one lazy person per family, that person is often called the black sheep. A black sheep is considered worthless, a normal sheep can produce wool that is useful. Nurturing a black sheep takes the same amount of time as a white one but the black wool has no value at all in the market. So raising a black sheep is a waste of time and often are considered¬† useless.

Black wool was useless because it could not be dyed. So uselessness of these sheep created an analogy with useless humans.

Why is an important moment called”moment of truth”?

The moment of truth is what the Spanish called the instant where a bullfighter choose to make the final slash of his sword and it was introduced into English by Ernest Hemingway. It was this American writer that wrote the novel Death In The Afternoon, it was written in 1932.¬† The instant the bullfighter does his last move is very crucial, it is a decisive moment for the bull and El Matador. So El momento de la verdad, or the moment of truth as it’s known in English, the phrase became associated with any big decisions.

Ernest Hemingway, was an influential writer born in Illinois, he wrote many important novels. He wrote in a distinctive style which is called the Iceberg Theory. He often never revealed the main part of the story and sidetracked a lot.

The Origins Of Over The Top

During the First World War, a charge over the protective battery next to a trench was said to be going over the top. Such a charge by the soldiers resulted in many casualties, as do most war maneuvers.  Since the casualty/death rate is high in such action. People who did were said to be going over the top, they considered it a brave gesture and now the phrase has somewhat become associated with that and excessive actions.

Interesting fact, 116,000 soldiers of US army died in a short period of seven months. Some by going over the top…