Quack – Noisy duck doctors

Quack – As slang for poor medical practitioners or those claiming to be medical practitioners who are not. The term comes from an old Dutch word ‘quacksalver’ meaning ‘someone who boasts by virtue of his salves’ (salves being ointments for the skin). The ‘Quack’ part is a reference to the same quack we use today…

Polar – Heavenly

Polar, directly opposite to. Polar is a mid 16th Century word which is a derivative of the Latin word ‘Polaris’ (like the star), which meant ‘heavenly’. Its first recorded use in the sense of ‘opposite’ was in 1832 but it has been applied to the bears since the 1700s.

WiFi – Wireless HiFi

WiFi – a wireless computer network. The word ‘WiFi’ is ubiquitous in today’s society, it’s advertised in cafe windows, it’s at work, it’s even in our homes. But why on earth is it called WiFi? WiFi is actually a trade name developed by a group called the ‘Wireless compatibility Alliance’ who were one of many…

Invoice – People who go to the road

Invoice – ‘a list of goods sent or services provided, with a statement of the sum due for these’. The word comes from the French word ‘envois’ meaning ‘to send’, it’s also, where we get the word ‘envoy’ from. ‘Envois’ is a variant of the early Latin word ‘inviare’, the ‘in’ part meaning ‘on’ and…

Chivalry – Not killing during dinner

Chivalry – generally used to mean courtesy, especially male to female. But where does the word come from? What was it? And is it dead? The word comes from the 13th century – being a time when the French were in power in Britain, French was the language of the government and of the military,…

Power – From Latin ‘Ability’

Power, the ability to do something.   The word reached English from the Anglo-Norman-French word ‘poeir’, having reached Britain with the Norman invasion of 1066. ‘poeir’ was a derivative of the Latin word ‘potis’ meaning ‘to be able’. The root word, is the Proto-Indo-European word ‘poti’ which meant ‘powerful’ – it is also the root…

Whitewashing – Cheap lies

Whitewashing: Distortion of the facts to glorify the results, particularly by those in authority. The first recorded use of the term was as far back as 1591. Whitewash initially referred to the use of cheap white paint for coating walls, in order to give the appearance of cleanliness. It was in the early 1800s that…