Words and Numbers Trivia
Subcategories: | Word Roots
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Celebrity-hounding photographers are called paparazzi, in English as well as Italian. It is believed the word was coined after a particularly obtrusive character named "Paparazzo" in Federico Fellini's 1960 film, La Dolce Vita. It has been said that Fellini chose the name because it suggested, onomatopoetically, the predatory, relentless nature of the character — the "z" sound hinted at a buzzing, annoying insect. Considering the voracious, self-serving nature of such hangers-on as the paparazzi, Fellini may also have played with the Italian verb pappare, which means "to devour with wild abandon."
In the United States, the window you see through in front of you on a car is called a windshield; in Australia, it's a windscreen.
Cinderella's slipper, many scholars believe, was made of fur, not glass. The word verre, or "glass," they claim, was incorrectly substituted in early versions of the story for the word vaire. In medieval French, vaire means "fur."
Citibank in New York, calls ATMS, CATS, which stands for Customer Activated Terminals. That was the original development term for them, but was picked up by the marketing group.
A dime has 118 ridges around the edge.
A fireplace is called a "mantelpiece" because, at one time, people hung their coats (or "mantles") over the fireplace to dry them.
A Francophile is a lover of all things French.
A girl or woman swimmer can be called a "naiad."
A hank is a specific length of thread or yarn according to the type of fiber. For cotton, a hank is 840 yards; for linen, it is 300 yards.
A hypothetical place, state, or situation in which conditions and the quality of life are dreadful is called "dystopia."
A labeorphilist is a collector of beer bottles.
A latitudinarian is someone who tolerates all religions or beliefs.
A line on a weather map connecting the points that receive equal amounts of sunshine is called an "isohel."
A little-used expression for something insignificant or trifling is a "peppercorn."
The "snood" is the fleshy projection just above the bill on a turkey.
The "you are here arrow" on a map is called the IDEO locator.
In the United States, they're called "orchestra seats;" in England, they're referred to as "stalls."
The # symbols is often referred to as a "number sign" or "pound sign." Its actual name is an octothorpe.
In the vast majority of the world's languages, the word for "mother" begins with the letter M.
Cleveland spelled backwards is "DNA level C."
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