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Word Roots Trivia

This is a subcategory of Words and Numbers

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A deltiologist collects postcards.

Women who wink at men are known as "nictitating" women.

A male witch is called a warlock.

The name of the point at which condensation begin is called the dew point.

Xenophobia is the fear of strangers or foreigners.

A notaphile collects bank notes.

A phrenologist feel and interpret skull features.

The abbreviation e.g. stands for "Exempli gratia", or "For example."

Ukulele means "little jumping flea" in Hawaiian.

Shakespeare is given credit by scholars for introducing as many as 10,000 words and phrases into written language, including "skim milk," "alligator," and "hobnob." But it's not at all certain that he made this many words up. Most were probably common terms for his time and he merely was the first to put them in written form in his plays and poems. Some scholars give him credit for thousands, but others say he actually coined only a few hundred.

"Acre" literally means the amount of land plowable in one day.

Would you believe that "on the nose" comes from radio? When broadcasting began, directors had to communicate with people on the air without making noise, so they developed hand signals. Time is always a key element in live broadcasts. The person at the mike needed to know if the program was on schedule. If things were "just right," the director signaled with a finger to the side of his or her nose.

"Doubleheader," which refers to two baseball games played back to back, was originally a railroad term that referred to two engines in a switching yard hooked up back to back on a single train. The train could also be called a "two-header."

"Mark twain" means "two fathoms." (A fathom, of course is six feet deep, so that's 12 feet.) When navigating a riverboat over the Mississippi River, a riverboat captain needs someone to call out the depth in tricky areas to ensure that the boat can make it through. If he hears "mark twain," he knows that the water is barely deep enough for the boat to pass.

Samuel Clemens, the creator of the adventuresome Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, took "Mark Twain" as his pen name. This was not because he WAS a riverboat captain, but because he once wanted very badly to be one.

The English word pajamas has it's origin in Persian. It is a combination of the Persian words pa (leg) and jamah (garment).

The word "puppy" comes from the French poupee, meaning "doll."

Spain literally means 'the land of rabbits.'

The abbreviation for 1 pound, lb., comes from the astrological sign Libra, meaning balance.

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