Language Quiz / Words With Remarkable Origins

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Can you name the Words With Remarkable Origins, from Merriam Webster?

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Modern MeaningWordOriginal Meaning and Derivation
comedy that depends for its effect on zany physical activity and horseplayThis type of comedy derives its name from the sticks
used for slapping by the comedians of 16th century Italy.
wagesRoman soldiers were given a sum of money to purchase salt. Over time, salarium (from the Latin salarius, 'of salt') came to refer simply to money
paid the soldiers, and then to monies paid to any official of the Empire.
to listen secretly to what is said in privateOriginally it referred to the water that fell from the eaves of a house,
and then to the ground itself. Eventually it came to mean someone
who stood within the that area to overhear a conversation inside.
from the 1960's, generally nonessential, specifically detailed knowledge on various topicsWhen ancient Romans met at a an intersection of THREE ROADS,
they would shoot the breeze and discuss 'inconsequential things.'
This eventually helped give this word its modern meaning.
Additionally, this word referred to grammar, logic and rhetoric, which
were considered less important that the other four classical disciplines.
a body tissue that contracts, producing movementComes from the Latin for 'little mouse,' probably because a bicep
resembles a mouse – with a tendon for a tail – moving beneath the skin.
not true, real, or genuine;
not honest or sincere
Old British scam: A con man would gild a brass ring, plant it, then run to pick it up as a passerby noticed it on the ground. The scammer would propose splitting the treasure. The other, convinced now of its value, would ask to keep the ring and pay the con artist for his share. The ring was called the FAWNEY.
wild uproar or confusionEngland's first mental asylum was The Hospital of St. Mary of Bethlehem.
In the 16th century, Bethlehem was shortened to this six-letter word.
a source of danger,
often on a golf course
This word dates to the time of the Crusaders and involves a game of chance. According to the most likely theory, this 'al-zahr,' in Arabic,
was a die. Players would roll the dice and bet on the outcome.
a usually yellowish-brown cloth, or pants made from such clothDuring India's first War of Independence (the Indian Mutiny) in 1857,
the British military wore uniforms shaded a light yellowish brown.
The locals named that color after the Hindi and Urdu word for 'dust-colored.'
a disadvantage that makes achievement unusually difficultWhen bartering items of unequal value, an umpire would propose a sum
of money that the person with the more valuable item should receive.
Money was deposited in a hat, the barterer would reach in, and withdraw his hand either holding money or not to indicate whether the deal was accepted.
By the late 17th century, it referred to making a lopsided
race more equitable by giving some horses additional weight.
enjoying the company of other peopleThis word comes from the Latin for
'flock' or 'herd' or 'relating to the flock.'
a pulpy green- to purple-skinned nutty-flavored fruit of any of various tropical American treesIn pre-Columbian times, this fruit was considered an aphrodisiac. The Aztecs named it āhuacatl, short for āhuacacuahuitl, which means 'testicle tree.'
a complete failureThe original Italian word means 'glass bottle.' One theory: when Venetian glass- blowers realized a beautiful piece was flawed, they turned it into an ordinary bottle. A would-be work of art was downgraded to a mere 'glass bottle.'
espresso coffee mixed with frothed hot milk or cream and often flavored with cinnamonMembers of an austere 16th century Catholic order devoted to poverty wore a notably long, pointy hood which inspired their name. The brown shade of that hood inspired the name of the coffee drink at the turn of the 20th century.
the center of public attentionIn the early 19th century, it was found that forcing oxygen and hydrogen through a pipe to ignite a lump of hot limestone created a brilliant illumination. This was used on stages as an early spotlight. Since it was highly flammable, it faded from literal center stage but kept its figurative 'center stage' meaning.
cheap and gaudy in appearanceA 7th-century queen became an abbess, Mother Audrey. Suffering from a fatal condition that included a swelling in her throat, the dying abbess attributed that symptom to God's punishment for her onetime fondness for necklaces. After her death, English pilgrims would leave all sorts of cheap knickknacks and jewelry at her shrine, including a type of necklace called Saint Audrey's lace. By the 17th century, Audrey was transformed into this similar sounding word.
a state in which your emotions (such as fear) are so strong that you behave in an uncontrolled wayThe Greeks blamed this condition on a disturbance of the womb. Thus
the word is from the Greek for womb. The origins of the word may help
account for the fact that it is applied to women more often than to men.
a cylinder filled with graphite used for writingIn ancient Rome, a small brush that served as a writing instrument was named after the diminutive of the Latin word meaning 'tail'. This same Latin word gave rise to both this English word for a writing implement, in the 16th century, and also to the English name for the male organ, in the 17th century.
junk collector, garbage collector;
organism that feeds on refuse or carrion
When angry taxpayers liken the Internal Revenue Service to 'vultures,' they're actually making a deep linguistic connection. During the Middle Ages, English officials would charge a tax on non-resident merchants who sold goods on the streets. This duty was known as a scavage (after a Middle French word meaning 'to inspect'); the tax-collectors were scavagers. Over time, those scavagers expanded their duties to cleaning the streets of dirt and debris. Eventually the word morphed into its present form, taking on a wider meaning.
something, such as a force, campaign, or movement, that is huge and powerful and can't be stoppedThis word comes from Jagannāth (Hindi for 'Lord of the World'), the title of Vishnu. According to some reports from the 14th century, during parades in India, devotees of Vishnu would sacrifice themselves by being crushed beneath the wheels of carriages carrying images of Vishnu.

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