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Words and Numbers Trivia

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Although many food writers have translated the Italian "antipasto" as "before the pasta," its literal meaning is "before the meal."

An alternative to the outdated slang expression “cat's pajamas” was “cat's meow.” Both terms meant that someone or something was wonderful or remarkable.

An American airline advertised in Brazil that its planes featured “rendezvous” lounges. In Brazilian slang, “rendezvous” means a place to have sex.

An antiquated word for someone who is lustful or desirous is “concupiscible.”

An expert in testing coins is called a "shroff."

A "pentapopemptic" is a person who married and then divorced five times.

A "pibroch" is a piece of music for the bagpipe, consisting of a theme with variations, usually martial but sometimes dirgelike.

A "polymath" is a person who is wise in many fields of learning.

A "quidnunc" is a person who is eager to know the latest news and gossip – otherwise, a busybody.

A "schoenobatist" is a tight-rope walker.

A "springal" is an archaic term for an active young man.

A "threnody" is a song of lamentation, a funeral song, or a dirge.

A "xanthochroid" is a blond-haired and blue-eyed person with fair skin.

A "zeedonk" is the offspring of a zebra and a donkey.

A “fruit machine” is the British term for a slot machine, or “one-armed bandit.”

In England, a billboard is called a hoarding.

In England, a quarter penny was originally known as a fourthing when coins were cut into pieces to make change. "Farthing" is a corruption of the word fourthing.

An oast is a kiln used for drying hops, malt, or tobacco.

In England, it is called a tower block; in the United States, it's called a high-rise building.

An obsolete term for a foolish, talkative person is "blatherskite."

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