Today, if someone reads this to you, they probably aren't actually reading, but just reprimanding you, with gusto.(2 or 3 words)
In the early 18th century, it was something actually read aloud – by the agents of King George I, who used it to break up gatherings of more than twelve people by ordering them to disperse within an hour.
This word is used to refer to someone destroying or destroyed by someone else.
Originally, it meant something brutally specific. In ancient Rome, military leaders randomly selected one-tenth of the men in a mutinous unit – and killed them. That practice was named after the Latin word for ten.
This word has mellowed considerably into its current meaning: 'an effort to change something, carried out with zeal and enthusiasm.'
During the Middle Ages, Europeans sent a series of military expeditions through the Holy Land in an attempt to win parts of it from Muslim powers. These self-proclaimed 'soldiers of the Church' carried crosses (in Latin, crux), which gave the campaigns their name.
These days it merely means 'cruel' or 'severe,' and is often still applied to laws or rules.
In 7th century B.C. Athens, the lawmaker from whose name this word is derived, reformed the criminal justice system. Personal revenge was no longer acceptable; a code of justice was implemented. So far so good ... except that almost every transgression was punishable by death.
These days, evoking the WWII meaning, this word usually describes severe disregard for personal welfare.
Late in WWII, Japanese deliberately crashed their planes into enemy targets. These suicidal pilots were called, in Japanese, divine wind. That name came from the late 13th century. An immense fleet of Mongol ships brought invaders to Japan's shores. When a sudden storm arose and destroyed those ships, the grateful populace called it divine wind.
Today, this is a mild word, describing an 'intensive campaign or attack.' Furthermore, it also means rushing the quarterback.
The eight shattering months of nighttime bombardment of London by German forces was referred to by this word. In German, this word for 'lightning' was united with krieg meaning 'war.' It meant, 'a violent surprise offensive,' and usually describes German tactics in WWII. .
Thanks to the logo of an insurance and financial company, the original autograph is still well known. Americans currently use this first and last name to mean 'signature.'
'There! I guess King George will be able to read that!' Contrary to legend, the president of the Continental Congress, almost certainly did not make that defiant claim as he became the first signer of the Declaration of Independence. But his signature was large and stylish, and the story caught on.
These races, originally 26 miles, became 26 miles and 385 yards at the 1908 Games in London. The extra yards were added so the race would finish in front of the royal box.
In 490 B.C., the fellow who ran 25 miles back home to Athens to announce news of the victory over the Persians at the Battle from which this word derived its name, supposedly said, 'Rejoice, we conquer!' – and then dropped dead.
These days, this phrase means passing a point of no return.(3 words)
This isn't much of a river, but it meant a great deal to Julius Caesar. The Roman Senate had forbidden any of its generals in foreign provinces from crossing those waters and bringing their forces into Rome. To do so would be to commit treason. But General Caesar was already at odds with the Senate. In 49 B.C., he crossed it – and went on to rule the Empire.
This word now means a decisive defeat. Napoleon's loss, it turns out, was our lexicon's gain.
The original Battle – where the French Army suffered a major defeat to a coalition of European forces, in 1815, was in present-day Belgium. The French commander, of course, was Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. Within a month he was exiled to the island of St. Helena, and died there six years later.
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