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…

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…

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,…

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…

Power – From Latin ‘Ability’

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 of the word ‘potent’.

Ramshackle – Ransacked

Ramshackle – meaning ‘in a state of severe disrepair.’ It was originally ‘ramshackled’ (1670) and was an alteration of the word ‘ransackled’ – the alteration is likely thanks to the Scottish dialect. ‘Ransackled’ is the past participle of the word ‘ransack’ and it’s easy to see how these words relate. ‘Ransack’ is a word from…

Yank/yankee – Little Dutch person

Yank / Yankee – Actually means something slightly different depending on who’s saying it; outside of the USA it is used to refer to an American, in the US, it refers to someone from the Northern states, and in the Northern states, it is specifically someone from the North-East, it seems no-one is keen to…