PWD Register

XXXXXIV Origins of Some Expressions Used in English Today

Raining Cats and Dogs

Five hundred years ago in England, people roofed their homes with thatch. Thatch is like a long grass and was plentiful in England. It kept the houses warm in the winter and cool in the summer. People heated their houses by a wood burning fireplace in the wintertime. As the heat rose upward to the roof, the little cats and dogs learned to climb up onto the thatch of a house to keep warm.
In the spring, before the weather warmed up, there were cold rains and the roof would be very slippery when it rained hard. The little animals couldn’t hold onto the slippery thatch and would slip off. People would see the little animals falling off the roof and would say, “Oh look, it’s raining cats and dogs.” That is where we get the expression, “It’s raining cats and dogs,” when it is raining hard.

Canopy Bed

With a thatched roof, bits of thatch would fall down inside the house. Of course that also meant that bugs, mice droppings, and droppings from any other creatures living in the thatch would also drop on the bed sheets. To keep the sheets clean, the four posts at each corner of the bed would be extended upward and a sheet stretched between them. This was called a canopy bed, which became a symbol of luxury and the sign of a well-to-do family.


A couple of hundred years ago in England, many people did not have to money to put a wooden floor in their homes so they covered their dirt floor with straw. Straw came from threshing grain (separating the grain from the stems) and it was called “thresh”.
After the thresh had been walked on for a while, it would become slippery and move about. So when anyone opened the door, some thresh would slip outside or rainwater might seep under the door, if it were raining outside. Wet thresh would not only be nasty to walk on but also smelly. To hold the thresh in place and keep the water out, people put a board at the bottom of the door which they called the threshold.

Dirt Poor

People who had dirt floors and didn’t have the money to put have a wood floor, put thresh on their dirt floors and were called 'dirt poor’. So to this day, the expression lives on and people who are considered poorer than poor are called 'dirt poor’.

Why Carry the Bride Across the Threshold

When a man married, his new bride might not be accustomed to her new home and might stumble over the threshold upon entering her new home. This could cause her to become angry enough to start a fight with her new husband. This resulted in the saying that if the bride stumbled on the threshold the day of the marriage, it was considered “bad luck”. To avoid bad luck, it became the custom for the groom to carry his new bride over the threshold.

Bathing: Don’t Throw the Baby Out With the Bath Water

In old England, bathing was a once a year thing as it was expensive to heat the water to take a bath and the room in which the bath would be taken would have to be warmed up. So bathing was put off until the weather was warmer. The month chosen for bathing was May.
The first to have a bath in the tub would be the head of the house, then next would be the important member of the household and so on down the line to the last and the least important member of the house, would be the baby. But by the time the baby got the chance to be bathed, the water in the tub would be quite black, and if the baby slipped out of the hands of the person bathing the baby, it was difficult to find the baby. So came the expression, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water” meant don’t lose something precious by being carelessness.

June Weddings

As bathed in May, people decided that the best time to get married would be when they smelled the best, and June was considered the best month in which to marry.
But if May and June were warmer than usual and the bride perspired, she might begin to smell a bit. So to hide her body odor; the bride would carry a bouquet of flowers. That is why today it is customary to marry in June and for brides to carry a bouquet of flowers at her wedding.

Trench Mouth

In old England, the ordinary people ate from wooden boards called “trenchers”. This was before the knowledge of how to make porcelain plates was brought from China. The term for the best porcelain dishes today is named "china", and the finest china today is called bone china, all of which goes to show the origin of the technology.
But the trenchers would become rotten and insects would lay their eggs in the boards. So people eating from these the rather dirty and unsanitary boards would have infections around their mouths. The infections were called trench mouth from the word 'trencher’.
But people with money would buy plates of pewter. England had always been a great producer of tin, which in early times was mixed with copper to make bronze. But the English found that when tin was mixed with lead, it produced a metal that looked like silver and they called this pewter. So the English who had money bought pewter plates to eat off of. But, the lead in pewter is poisonous and affects the brain. This often produced a form of dementia or madness. This might have been the cause of what is known as the eccentricity of the English.
But when trade with China was developed, and plates of porcelain were imported and later manufactured in England, it probably saved many upper class English families in England from developing madness that would have resulted if they had kept eating off of pewter plates.

Twiddle-dee and Twiddle-dum

These are two characters from the book Alice in Wonderland. They talk nonsense all the time
Like, “This must be Thursday. Never could get the hand of Thursdays, though on a whole, Thursdays have been pretty good.”
The names, Twiddle-dee and Twiddle-dum come from the expression, 'twiddling my thumbs’ which is to say he has nothing to do, and will say, 'Oh, I’m doing nothing,but twiddling my thumbs.’
On a while, the nonsense of Alice in Wonderland is to poke fun at society as a whole. What is acceptable to some is seen as preposterous (ridiculous) or even terrible to others. To poke fun at ridiculous or hypocritical thinking is to be cynical.

Peas Porridge Hot, Peas Porridge Cold

As recent as two hundred years, people kept a pot over the fire in the fireplace. If there were any leftovers from a meal, these went into the pot. The fire under the pot kept the leftovers from spoiling but at night the fire would die out. So in the morning, the pot would be cold.
Sometimes the food on the bottom of the pot would be there for a considerable time. In the nursery rhyme for children, the peas were on the bottom of the pot for ten days before they eventually eaten. So the nursery rhyme "Peas Porridge Hot" was based on reality:

Peas porridge hot,
Peas porridge cold.
Peas porridge in the pot
Ten days old.

“Chew the Fat”

In England four hundred years ago, meat was only for the rich. But if a man could afford it or suddenly earned enough money to buy meat, he had to show off.
Thus when neighbors came to call, he would proudly announce, “I have meat”.
“My, my,” the neighbors would give admiring glances to each other as if to say 'our neighbor is rich. He has meat!’
The proud owner would then bring out the big slab of meat to show his guests. In those days, meat was pre-cooked to preserve it and the proud owner of the meat, as a sign of generosity, would cut off chunks of the meat with a knife and hand these to his guests.
As the butcher had paid for a whole cow, he wouldn’t have thrown away fat that he had paid for, so the meat was usually very fatty.
As the guests and the owner of the meat were enjoying the taste of meat, the fat would rolls down their chins as they sat around exchanging 'juicy gossip’.
Today, “chewing the fat,” means a friendly talk or exchange of gossip while enjoying something to eat with a soft drink or cup of coffee or tea. And so you also have the possible term, 'juicy gossip’ coming from the 'juicy’ fat meat as well.


In ancient Babylon several thousand years ago, they made a fermented drink from honey that is called “meade”. It was the custom at that time to give the newly married bride enough meadd to last them a lunar month to insure their marriage was off to a happy start Today, the expression, honeymoon is world-wide and the word honeymoon has been translated into many languages. It is a time in which the newlyweds are to relax and enjoy at least a few days or weeks to enjoy their newly married life. The expression, the honeymoon is over, means you no longer can expect sweetness.


In the early days of frontier life in USA, fireplaces were quite big, often large enough to hold a large log that would burn for hours. The fireplace was not only used to warm the room but to cook over as well.
There would be an iron rod on one side of the fireplace that could be swung over the fire. A kettle was hung on this rod which could be swung out over the fire to cook food and that is how people cooked then. If there were any leftovers, these would be emptied back into the pot where the heat from the fire would keep it from spoiling. This could go on for several days and resulted in a mixture of some kind, but no one really knew what was in the pot as it often held food returned to the pot from many days past.
On cold days, whenever a friend or stranger might drop by, they would be invited to warm themselves and to eat something warm from the pot. When the friend or stranger would ask what was in the pot, the host would say, “Don’t know. It’s potluck (which meant you take your chances)
But today, potluck is a bit different. It is usually a big gathering of family members, members of a church, or perhaps a gathering of the office or school events with food, everyone will bring some item of food to the gathering. It could be a watermelon, a case of coca cola, ice cream, or food brought to the gathering by which the donor participating in the gathering might contribute his or her specialty (favorite recipe for salad, fried chicken, pie, etc.). Thus this has come to be called a “potluck supper” or a “potluck picnic” and a time to meet with family and friends you haven’t seen for a while and for fun and conversation.

The Real McCoy

In the late 1800’s, drinking alcohol was associated with all kinds of social ills and evil. This anti-alcohol campaign against alcoholic drinking was started and carried out mainly by women of the Women’s Temperance Christian Union (WCTU). One woman in particular, Carrie Nation, became famous for entering saloons and smashing bottles, glasses, chairs, and tables and wrecking saloons.
In 1921, an amendment to the Constitution gave USA women the Right to Vote, and not long after, women pushed for another amendment to the Constitution called Prohibition. That amendment outlawed the sale, consumption, manufacture, and transportation of alcoholic beverages. Despite the law making the importation, manufacturing, or selling of alcoholic beverages illegal, it only made those USAs who liked to drink, criminals.
As Canadians had no Prohibition in CAN, they could import expensive European liquors there. But as government of CAN placed a high duty on these imported liquors, and so a Canadian distiller began to manufacture put counterfeit labels on his bottles to make is look like “European” alcoholic beverages. But people complained that this booze was really bad and not worth the money.
Bill McCoy Lived in New England and discovered that off the coast of CAN, the Island of St. Pierre remained FRA and had not been turned over to the U.K when France signed away CAN. Bill found that in St. Pierre, high quality FRA liquors could be bought without heavy duty that was placed on imported liquors just a few miles away in CAN.
He bought two extremely fast boats that were faster than either the U.S. Coast Guard boats or police boats that were used to try to catch smugglers. Bill would run his boats up to St. Pierre where he loaded up with expensive European liquors. On the way back to New England, his boats easily out ran the Coast Guard and police boats.
Thus whenever someone bought what he hoped was genuine European liquor and not the fake Canadian counterfeit, the phrase, “It’s the real McCoy”, meant he was getting the real thing, not a fake. Today, the saying “It’s the real McCoy,” means you’re getting the real thing and not some fake.

Getting Off Scott Free

In the days before the Civil War, slavery in the southern states was legal but it was illegal in northern states. A southerner, who moved to a northern state, took his servant along with him even though the servant was a slave.
The servant’s name was Dred Scott found himself living in a free state, and he learned that slavery was not legal in the state in which he was now living. So he sued for his freedom in court. The court agreed with him and he was set free. But to disgruntled southerners, Dred Scott was property and no one had compensated his owner for the loss of his property.
Thus when people think someone is guilty but the judge or jury sets that person free, those who disagree with the court’s verdict say, “He got off Scott Free”.

Kangaroo Court

The phrase, “kangaroo court” came into usage in 1853. It stand for a court where no real justice could be expected and a defendant was always found guilty.
Strange to say, the phrase is not known in AUS where the U.K dispensed legal decisions unfairly and arbitrarily against 'convicts’ from U.K prisons (mainly debtor’s prisons and Irish and Scottish rebels cleared out of Scotland and Ireland by force.
Kangaroo courts were widespread in the western United States where outlaws preyed on settlers and there was protection the settlers. Without lawmen to protect them, settlers formed “vigilante” groups where they would enforce the law by themselves.
Kangaroos are an AUSn animal and AUSns who were categorized as convict had no chance for justice. In the AUSn song, 'Waltzing Matilda” is the tale of two men. One a hungry sheepshearer (swagman) and a squatter who had land illegally, but could get help from lawmen as he had land. Rather than face imprisonment, the Swagman jumps into the billibong and drowns .

How the Pirate Flag God the Name of Jolly Roger

The FRA Catholic order of the Knights Templar was founded In Jerusalem in 1119 AD. They were supposed to be gentler than lambs to innocents and fiercer than lions in combat with the enemy, which were the Muslims.
In the beginning, about half the Templars were Palestinian by birth and familiar with every religious sect, cult, and mystical doctrine of that time, including the Assassins. The Templars even organized along the same lines as the Assassins, using the same words such as lodges, Grand Master, and other names that came from the Persian language.
The Templars maintained a fleet of sixteen ships at the port of Acre in Palestine and they were allied to an ancient Phoenician sailing society. Their fleet was created primarily to transport Crusaders to the Middle East to fight Muslims. But when they weren’t transporting Crusaders, the Templars used their ships as pirate ships to prey on Muslim merchant ships. When pirating, the Templars flew a red flag with on which they put a skull and crossbones. It had a mystical meaning known only to the Templars. They called their red flag, Jolie Rouge that means Beautiful Red in FRA, the language of the Crusaders. The red in the flag meant no prisoners were to be taken, as 'dead men tell no tales’. This is the origin of how the pirate flag with the skull and crossbones came to be called the Jolly Roger.

Friday the 13th

The Templars moved their base of operations to France as it was the most powerful country of Europe and France was a great source of knights that became the Crusaders fighting in Palestine. The Templars also stationed their fleet in the port of New Rochelle, France.
In 1300, when the Templars gave shelter to Phillip IV, king of France, he discovered that they were wealthier and more powerful than either he or Pope Clement. Phillip then wanted to bring the Templars under his control, but they said they served only the Grand Master. Pope Clement wanted them under his control and when they told him they told him the same so he excommunicated them, which is why Catholics today are excommunicated if they join the Freemasons.
On Friday the 13th, 1307, King Philip had the leaders of the Templars arrested and imprisoned. On that day, Friday, October 13, the Templars’ fleet set sail from the port of New Rochelle with a vast fortune as their cargo. Just where the fleet went, no one knows, but evidence points to the Templars showing up on the east coast of North USA in 1398, and erected a tower on the eastern coast of what is now the U.S. The rumor has it that the famed treasure that lies on the bottom of the Oak Island “Money Pit” is connected to the Templars fleet of that time. That would be is nearly one hundred years before Columbus “discovered” USA. There are pre-Colombian maps drawn years before Columbus set sail for USA, so Columbus may have had more information than merely watching the hulls of sailing ships disappear and then the sails, to know that the earth was round. .
Perhaps not all pirates were Templars. Others may have imitated them by using a black flag with the skull and crossbones on it, but the name, Jolly Roger, still stuck. The Templars also engaged in the slave trade and offered some slaves their freedom if they joined the Templars as pirates. About half the pirates were of African origin. They preferred the life of a pirate to that of a slave.

Showing Their True Colors

In the Spanish territories of the New World, the Indian civilizations of Inca, Aztec, Maya, Inca, and other Indian nations discovered how to use gold in making beautiful ornaments and works of art. This treasure of gold and silver was sent to Spain, which made Spain the richest country in the world at that time. To continue this production of gold, Spain also sent miners to mine gold from the their colonies in the New World. As gold has always been the measure of value in Asian countries as a medium of exchange. So everyone wanted it.
As Spanish ships carried “big guns” (canons) it became necessary to get in close to the Spanish ships or the big guns would shoot the pirate ships out of the water. To get close enough to board the Spanish ships, the pirates would fly the Spanish flag. But moments before they would attack, the pirates would lower the Spanish flag and haul up the skull and crossbones of the Jolly Roger. When the pirates raised their pirate flag, the Spanish would cry out, “They are showing their true colors,” and prepare to defend themselves.
Although the Knight Templars pirated only Muslims ships before October 13, 1307, afterwards, they attacked Christian (Catholic) ships belonging to the King of Spain as the Pope had ex-communicated them (as if they cared). Some suggested that other pirates were not Knight Templars but imitated them by using the Jolly Roger. Pirates make their captives to “walk the plank” (a board sticking out over the water with there hands tied) from which they’d be pushed off to drown.

The Assassins/Hashashin

During the reign of the Fatamids in Egypt (around 800-1100 AD), young men came from all over the Islamic world to study at Al Azhar University in Cairo. The Fatamid rulers established a secret society called 'The House of Wisdom’. Members of the society would carefully select young men studying at the university who showed great intelligence and talent. They would be invited to the House of Wisdom where they found government officials of high rank, generals, and admirals who would groom them in leadership, mysticism, and loyalty to the society. Afterward, when they returned to their native lands, they would always give some influence to the society in Egypt, which made the Fatimid dynasty influential beyond Egypt.
Hasan ibn Saba. came from northwestern Persia and studied at the House of Wisdom. After he returned to Persia, he was respected as a great scholar and called a great adept for his knowledge of mystical matters. After his return to his villa, he would invite young Ismailis Muslims to visit him. Ismailis are a mystical sect of Islam and they respected Hasan ibn Saba and called him as “Master”
In Hasan’s villa, the young men would be offered hashish, a drug made from the resins of Indian hemp. At first, the young men would refuse to take smoke hashish as Islamic law prohibits the use of drugs. But when they were told that Hasan ibn Saba had special permission from Allah for them to use hashish, they smoked it and became drugged.
After the young men were in a drugged stupor, a wall would be rolled back and they would be carried into a beautiful garden. Coming to their senses, the young men saw beautiful girls dressed in silk and walking among the flowers, and there were fountains flowing with wine. When they asked what had happened, they were told that they had died and gone to heaven. They could now drink wine and the beautiful girls were houris ? who were to give them pleasure and always remain virgins.
For three days, the young men drank wine, fornicated with the young women, and took drugs. They were literally bombed out of their minds. Then they would be drugged again, the wall rolled back and they would be carried back into the villa of Hasan ibn Saba.
Coming to their senses, some would go to the wall to try to move it, but the wall was so well constructed that once back in its original position, it would be locked and could not be moved.
Then each of the youths would be taken, one by one to see the Grand Master. On each side of the young man would be a man accompanying him because they knew what to expect.
“What happened, Master?” the young man would ask.
“You died and went to paradise, but we were able to save you and bring you back to life, again,” Hasan ibn Saba would tell him.
Immediately, the young man would reach for his dagger, to kill himself and return to heaven. This was to be expected and so now the men on each side of the young man would seize his arms and explain to him that if he killed himself now, he would go to hell. But if he killed on the orders of Hasan ibn Saba, and then killed himself, he would go to paradise.
This is a simplistic explanation of an intricate method of mind control used by Hasan Saba, but the use of drugs, alcohol, sex, and mysticism was quite effective on these young men. It can be seen that this combination of drugs, sex, and alcohol is still very dangerous today.
The use of hashish by these killers earned them the name, 'Hashashin’. As FRA was the language of the Templars (English didn’t exist until three hundred years later), the H from 'hashishin’ was dropped (H is not pronounced in FRA) and they called them 'Ashashin.’ Eventually this became 'assassin’ in English, which is another word for murderer in English, FRA, Spanish, etc.

He Must Wear a Hair Shirt

The phrase, “He must wear a hear shirt’ comes from the Assassins. The Assassins were grouped into secret cells called 'lodges’, which comes from a Persian word, 'loge’. The chieftain of the lodges was always called Grand Master. One of the most powerful of these lodges was in a mountain stronghold not far from the Syrian city of Damascus and the Grand Master of the lodge was Sinan. He had a shirt made from woven hair. As hair is not soft but itchy, he wanted to show his followers that he was able control to his impulse to scratch. He may have succeeded in controlling his impulse to scratch, but his reputation, as an irritable and unpleasant man became well known.
So today, when a person is known to have a bad temper, cruel, and disagreeable, people will say, “He must wear a hair shirt”.
Hair shirt is also mentioned in the Bible as to wear one for atonement, But Sinon was not atoning for anything. He just wanted to show his self-control.

Salt, Salary, Salad, Saline, and Sugar

When the Romans created their empire, they paid their soldiers with salt. Although salt is not considered as valuable as gold or silver, it was often used as money in ancient times. The Latin word for salt is sal, used in Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and sel in FRA. Salt is salz in German and there is a mountain of in AUStria has an old salt mine that gives the city of Salzburg its name today..
Salad comes from the fact that the Roman soldiers ate a mixture of raw vegetables and herbs and used salt in preparing those foods. As the soldiers were paid with salt, you have the origin of the word salad. The expression, “He isn’t worth his salt,” means that he wasn’t worthy of getting his pay as he simply didn’t earn it. As salt makes food tastier, a delicious off-color joke was salacious and where we get the term saline to describe something salty, such as a saline solution.
In ancient times, the only sweetener most people had to use’ was honey. When the Greeks (under Alexander the Great) conquered India, they discovered shakar which became sugar in English. It was also added to future lists of things of plunder that conquerors would take from the vanquished peoples. And sometimes is used as a term of love, such as 'sugar baby’, my sugar’, etc.

The First University

Over a thousand years ago, Shia Muslims of Arabia conquered Egypt as the Shias of Arabia that wanted to make a land connection between them and the Shias of Morocco.
Upon taking Alexandria, they found the great library Alexandria. Three quarters of the library had burned when Caesar ordered his ships burned to keep his soldiers from running back to their ships to escape the mighty army of Queen Cleopatra. Caesar reasoned that if there were no ships, his soldiers would have to obey him and stay to fight.
Eight hundred years later, there was still enough of the library left to awe the Arab conquerors of Egypt. From the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed, Muslims were told to respect all books and to learn from them. So the Muslim leaders selected their brightest students to study and learn Latin and Greek, to read and see what was in these books.
The students reported that the books were full of knowledge. Thus Al Azhar University was the first university in the world, and attracted students from all over the Islamic world.

That’s the Last Straw

Then there is the colorful proverbial story about an Arab trader who had many things to carry but only one camel. As the Arab trader put his goods on his camel, the camel would say, “Oh, master, this load is so heavy I can not carry more.”
But the trader ignored the camel’s complaint and would say, “Just a little more.”
When he finished loading his camel, the trader saw a straw and put it on the camel’s back. The weight of the straw broke the camel’s back and everything came crashing down.
So when things get difficult at work, home, or with relationships, when a person says, “That’s it. I’ve had it. This is the last straw.” It means he’ll take no more abuse. (Also see: Putting one’s foot down)

To Get a Kick Out of Someone or Something

In the early days of USA, mules and horses were used everywhere and shoeing horses and mules were common. Horses and mules didn’t like anyone nailing iron horse shoes to , their hooves a, nd would kick quite hard to show their displeasure.
A man who worked in the mines of the west or the cowboys often drank hard liquor. This was often some home brewed alcohol (also called 'mountain dew’). If it tasted good and they liked it, they would say, “It’s got a kick like a mule.” So eventually, the expression came to mean that when someone likes something or enjoyed someone he or she would say 'I gets a kick out it (or him or her)’

Rule of Thumb

Several hundred years ago, the women of England were considered property of their husbands. Husbands had the right to beat their wives so long as the husband did not beat his wife with anything wider than his thumb. This was called “the rule of thumb”.
But today, the rule of thumb means 'an imprecise measure of estimate’.

Don’t Open a Pandora’s Box

In Greek mythology, Prometheus stole fire from the gods and gave it to man, which made the most powerful god, Zeus, very angry. Zeus then had the god, Hephaestus, create Pandora with all the attributes of beauty and goodness after which Zeus sent Pandora to Epimetheus for his wife.
Epimetheus was very happy with Pandora and accepted her even though Prometheus, his brother, warned him never to accept any gift from the gods.
When Pandora received her wedding gifts, Zeus gave her a mysterious box but he warned her never to open it. But Pandora grew curious about the box, and one day she opened it. Out of the box flew all the innumerable terrible plagues, sadness, and sorrows for mankind and they laughed and mocked Pandora and flew on to go everywhere in the world. In terror, Pandora closed the box quickly.
But from inside the box came a tiny voice that called, “Let me out. Let me out. I can help”. Overcoming her fear, Pandora opened the box and out came Hope, the only good thing among so many evils. “I am Hope and I will bring hope to man that these plagues and sorrows will not last.” And with that, Hope flew away in pursuit of the plagues and sorrows.
So today, when someone says he will do something that others think may turn out to be more destructive than constructive, people will say, “Be careful you might be opening a Pandora’s box.”

From Peddler to Influence Peddling

The word 'peddler’ comes from a Latin root word, 'ped’ which means foot. I olden times, a man selling in the street was called a peddler. As times changed, the peddler used a cart that would carry the goods he was selling. This was called a pushcart. But on the frontier of USA, where there were no stores, men would load up a wagon with a team of horse and go from town to town selling goods. This changed the peddler from traveling on foot to riding. But the verb of selling now became to peddle and 'peddling’ became another word for 'selling’.
Today, when an influential government official is accused of using the power of his office to sell favors, it is called influence peddling. This, of course, has nothing to do with selling goods in the street or marketing. It means an official is selling his vote or influence in making legislation or decisions that grants privilege to someone for money.

He Likes the Limelight

The English have a love of the theater matching that of the ancient Romans and Greeks. As the Greeks and Romans performed their plays in outdoor theaters during the summertime which in the Mediterranean is warm and dry. So rain seldom interfered with theatre performances.
As England’s climate is cooler and wetter than the Mediterranean lands of Greece and Rome, plays were performed in enclosed theaters where there was little light. However, the U.K discovered that if a piece of limestone were held over a burning flame it would suddenly burst forth with a bright bluish-white light when hot. They used limestone held over a hot flame to light the stage on which the actors performed and they called this the “limelight”. If an actor tried to hog the stag from a fellow actor, the one doing the hogging could be accused of 'hogging the limelight”.
So today, whenever someone enjoys having media attention given to him, we say that he “likes the limelight”, meaning that he likes the attention given to him by the news media.


During the USA Civil War, a northern general, named Hooker, was quite promiscuous and enjoyed the favors of many prostitutes who would come to visit him in his tent.
One day, a newly arrived recruit at the camp looked down the row of tents and saw two women standing outside General Hooker’s tent. When he asked who these women were, the soldier replied, “They’re Hooker’s (meaning they were Hooker’s women), and the name stuck.
And so today, another name for a prostitute is a hooker.

Red Light District

In the early days of railroading in USA, the final car on a freight train was called the caboose. The caboose was where the conductor of the train lived, ate, and slept on long journeys. The conductor’s job was to check the train over before starting on a trip. After finishing his inspection, he would be at the far end of the train. To signal the engineer that everything was all right, he carried a red lantern, which he would swing up and down at night to show the engineer everything was ready.
A freight train might stop for several hours while taking on water or wood for fuel. No one knew exactly when everything would be loaded, and the conductor would go off in search of a prostitute carrying his red lantern with him. Once he found a prostitute, he would hang his red lantern outside her house. Then when the train was ready to go the crew would go looking for the red lantern and get the conductor. Thus, the term “red light” came to mean where prostitutes lived and worked.


There was always a strong China trade with the USAs, even when they were a colony of Britain. The most famous of all this trade was in tea. The U.K monopolized this trade as much as possible. So USAs built faster ships to outrun the U.K and FRA ships and these became known as “China Clippers” or “Clippers” because of their speed and maneuverability.
After the USA Revolution, that shipbuilders Massachusetts began building ships by the thousands until the number of USA ships. To get tall pine trees for their 80-foot masts, the ship builders went into an unsettled area between Massachusetts and what was later to become CAN. As USAs occupied this area, USA claimed it. This later became the state of Maine. USA. And so from its very beginning, USA was a great sea power which is not well known.
When California was annexed from Mexico after the Mexican-USA War of 1845, trade with China boomed through the port of San Francisco. One story about the origin of the word Shanghaied is that the voyage was so long, men in San Francisco didn’t want to sign on for such a long voyage. So they were drugged and put aboard a ship going to Shanghai. After the man was conscious, he was forced to work, as he could never get off the ship until it returned to USA.
But the most likely origin of the verb Shanghaiwas ship captains from USA that docked in Shanghai would bribe the owners of opium dens to put drugged Chinese coolies on USA ships bound for California. In 1845, the first year of this practice, over 125,000 Chinese coolies were shipped to California in this manner to work on railroads and in the mines of California. This practice was outlawed by President Lincoln in 1862 before he outlawed slavery.

Blood is Thicker Than Water

Sorry to say but the United States assisted the U.K in their Opium Wars with China which can be seen by the treaties the U.K negotiated with China in which they insisted special privileges be given the United States and France.
A U.K ship was being attacked by a Chinese vessel and was losing the battle when the captain of an USA warship ordered his crew to come to the aid of the U.K (weren’t the USAs supposed to be neutral?). In ordering the attack he said, “blood is thicker than water.”
Then President Lincoln called all USA warships to return to USA to blockade the ports of the Confederacy. This captain volunteered to serve for the Confederacy but his record there was so bad they could never decide if he was a complete twit or was trying to sabotage the Confederate Navy.

Peeping Tom

Several hundred years ago, there English Earl of Coventry so over loaded the citizens of Coventry with taxes that the people went to his wife, Lady Godiva, to ask for her help. She went to her husband and asked him to reduce the taxes, but he rebuffed her request. Then he suggested that if she rode naked through the city of Coventry on a horse he would lighten the taxes on his people. To his surprise, Lady Godiva said that she would.
When the townspeople heard of the sacrifice Lady Godiva was to make, they respected her even more and all said they would look the other way as she rode by.
On the day she was to ride through the city of Coventry, Lady Godiva mounted her horse clad in nothing but her long red hair. Everybody in the streets turned to look away as she passed except for one man named Tom. He sneaked a peek at the naked lady when she rode by. The people were outraged when they learned what Tom did and he became an outcast.
Today, when a man peeps into a woman’s home, bedroom, or something similar, he is called a 'peeping tom’. It is not only considered indecent but also it is against the law.

Prize Plum

In olden days in England, the Church of England often inherited land from rich landowners. This was because the church held the keys to the kingdom of heaven in the after life and rich landowners hoped by giving some land to the church, their gift would ease their way into heaven.
The result was that the Church was richer than the king. But when the king prepared to levy a tax on land and ordered a survey, the Church sought to appease the king by giving him some pieces of their land. They created a “pie” into which they put land deeds to various pieces of property and then they chose a member of the Jewish community, Jack Horner, to carry this pie to the king.
When Jack was carrying this 'pie’ to the king, he picked out a very nice piece of property for himself. Jack believed living a prosperous life on earth was better than waiting to be rewarded in Heaven if there were such a thing as heaven.
Thus there came into being the children’s tale, “Little Jack Horner” who put in his thumb and pulled out a “plum” (a prized piece of land) and said, “What a good boy am I.”
So the term today in which a “plum” or a “prized plum” means getting something nice and valuable. In Jack Horner’s case, it was free and must have been more delicious, or at least to him

Cry Wolf

This is a story much like the camel that had its back broken when its master put a a straw onto its back. As the story goes, a shepherd boy was to watch over the town’s flock of sheep. He was told by the townspeople that when the wolf appeared that he was to cry 'wolf’ and the people would come running to protect the sheep from the wolf.
However, the boy became bored with nothing to do but watch the sheep. He decided to have some fun with the townspeople, and he began to cry, “Wolf, wolf, the wolf is here.”
The townspeople came running only to find there was no wolf, while the boy would laugh and make fun of them. Of course the townspeople were angry and warned him not to be so foolish.
A few days later, the boy feeling bored, again began calling, “Wolf, wolf, the wolf is here.” The townspeople were angry when they found that there was no wolf and the boy was laughing at how he had tricked them again.
But a few days later, when a real wolf did appear and the boy cried, “Wolf, wolf, the wolf is here,” no one from the town came to stop the wolf and the wolf killed all the sheep.
So today, when someone makes false statements that are serious but have no basis in reality, we say that he is crying 'wolf’ just to get attention,
Copyright©Link China Consulting.Ltd.Co