vineri, 24 aprilie 2009

The quirky origins of common phrases

Surfing the web you find interesting things to read. Like the origins of different phrases:

Blue Blood: After the Moors invaded Spain in 711, proud aristocratic families took pride in their pure Spanish heritage and the fact that they never intermarried with the dark-skinned Moors. They called the proof of their racial purity sangre azul for the way their veins tended to look blue under their pale skin, earning anyone from a noble or patrician heritage the nickname Blue Blood.

Best Man: In feudal days, weddings were fraught with the real possibility that a rival lord would try to break up the ceremony and steal the bride. To prepare for a possible battle, a groom would ask a friend with fighting skills to stand with him during his marriage and act as his Best Man, helping to defend his bride from possible kidnapping. Often, grooms would convince multiple friends and relatives to stand with him, and several peasant maids would be persuaded to stand with the bride, in the hope that if invaders came to disrupt the ceremony, they would be confused by the plethora of girls, and possibly kidnap the wrong one.

Sincerely: In ancient Rome, marble workers and craftsmen would sometimes cover up cracks and imperfections in their work with wax. Items that were whole and unblemished were, understandably, more valuable, so an artisan’s promise of sine cera, Latin words meaning “without wax” was an important personal and professional guarantee, and it’s why we now sign letters with the salutation Sincerely.

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