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Alma Mater:    We go back to medieval times to find the origin of this 
		term as applied to schools and colleges. A statue of Mary, 
		mother of Christ, over the portals of a university in Germany 
		was known as Alma Mater, fostering mother, and was applied to the
		school by its students. Later the term was adopted by all 
		students and applied to their schools. 

Automobile Tire: An automobile tire is so named because in the early days 
		it was considered "attire" or covering for a wheel.

Basketball: The first game was played by members of the YMCA Training 
		College at Springfield, Massachusetts, on January 20, 1892, 
		a few days after their coach, Dr. James A. Naismith, invented 
		the rules. The game was mainly a scheme to sop up athletic 
		energies between the ending of the football and the beginning 
		of the baseball seasons. The original goals were peach baskets. 
		Players climbed a ladder to retrieve the ball. Pro basketball 
		was played in 1898. The center jump after each goal was 
		eliminated a quarter-century ago to cut down the advantage of 
		sevenfooters.

Bonfire: When wars and pestilence ravaged England during the Middle 
		Ages, fires for the burning of corpses were daily necessities. 
		They were called fires of bone or "bonefires." When the custom 
		of burning heretics at the stake became common, the same term 
		was applied to pyres of these unfortunate victims. Later, 
		open-air fires were given the same name, but by this time 
		a less gruesome spelling was adopted.

Boycott: In Ireland, during the 1880's, there was a land agent for an 
		English nobleman by the name of Captain Boycott. He must have 
		been a pretty mean character. His harsh methods of collecting 
		rents, and immediate eviction of those unable to pay, soon 
		resulted in the hatred and enmity of all tenants. Thereupon 
		the tenants and their friends devised a method of ostracism 
		to meet the conditions. Servants and laborers refused to work 
		for Captain Boycott; shopkeepers avoided selling him; blacksmiths 
		would not shoe his horses; and passers-by on the street wouldn't 
		even nod to him. Shunned by everybody, his life became unbearable, 
		and he was forced to leave the country, a ruined and embittered 
		man. With a deeper and more personal connotation than "ostracize" or 		"excommunication," boycott was immediately accepted into the 
		English language as a needed word and newspapers soon were 
		printing it without a capital letter. That is the way it is 
		printed today.

Bribe: This word once meant "an honest scrap of bread," and its late 
		Latin form was briba. The French borrowed it and used it in 
		the sense of "a lump of bread" or "leavings of meals," or 
		something that might be given to beggars. But its meaning 
		degenerated morally while acquiring greater importance financially. 
		When it first came into English it meant "a gifted begged;" 
		subsequently, "a present." In modern use the "present" frequently 
		is a large amount of money and its purpose is to corrupt a person 
		in a position of trust.

Cap and Gown: The general use of caps and hats in Europe came in the 
		year 1449, when Charles VII of France entered Rouen. When the 
		cap was of velvet, it was called mortier; when it was wool, 
		it was called bonnet. None but kings, princes and knights were 
		allowed to use the mortier. The cap, which was round, was used 
		as a headdress by the clergy and graduates. When the people began 
		wearing the cap, the students changed the round cap to a square 
		one, and it became a symbol that they had acquired full liberty 
		and were no longer subject to the rod of their superiors.

Cartoon: These numerous drawings were first made n France and drawn 
		on pasteboard. Pasteboard in French is cartone. This, in English, 
		became cartoon.

Chairman: The word chairman or the phrase "taking the chair" comes 
		from the furnishings or customs of the time when the master 
		of the house and his lady were the only ones who owned or 
		occupied chairs. The rest of the household, although it shared 
		a community dining table, sat on stools or at a lower level. 
		A guest of consequence was honored by being invited to 
		"take the chair."

Christmas: There are several apparent sources for the word Christmas. 
		To the early Christians, birthdays were a pagan custom. 
		It was unthinkable to celebrate one's own birthday, much 
		less the birthday of Christ. It was sacrilege even to suggest 
		that a Divine Being had birthday. In the next 300 years this 
		attitude began to change, and in 354 A.D. the Bishop of Rome 
		declared December 25 to be the anniversary of the birth of Christ.
		The word was derived from the Greco-Latin words christos, 
		meaning "anointed," and mass, meaning "to send." These two 
		words taken together developed into the Old English Cristes 
		Maesse, or "Christ's Mass" denoting the Incarnation. This 
		derivative has been found to be used as early as 1038. 
		The abbreviation Xmas had its origin in the fact that the 
		Greek letter chi was written as an "X."

Christmas Cards: In 1843, Henry Cole of London dreamed up the idea of 
		sending a Christmas greeting card to his friends, and 
		originated the first Christmas card. It as a three-panel card 
		showing a family party in the center. The side panels depicted 
		the old tradition of feeding and clothing the needy. The 
		wording, "A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year," has never 
		been surpassed. The idea caught on and by 1860 several greeting 
		card firms had sprung up in England. In the middle 1870's, Louis 
		Prang of Boston entered the field with religious cards. 

Christmas Tree: There are many legends as to the origin of the 
		Christmas tree. Reports have it that it first appeared in 
		Strassburg, Germany, in 1608, and the custom was kept along 
		the Rhine for 208 years and then spread over all Germany.
		Other reports have it that the basic idea of the Christmas 
		tree goes back to medieval German mystery plays, most popular 
		of which concerned the sin of Adam and Eve and their 
		expulsion from paradise. These plays were most often performed 
		in the open, on large squares in front of churches, or in the 
		church itself. On such occasions a large fir tree, decorated 
		with apples, was used to represent the Garden of Eden. When 
		the plays were performed inside the church the tree was 
		surrounded by lighted candles. The tree later became popular 
		in the home when mystery plays were no longer performed.

Curfew: Literally, "cover the fire," from the French couvre le feu. 
		The peasants of France, during the Middle Ages, were required 
		to cover or extinguish their fires at night, a bell being rung 
		to notify them of the exact time this was to be done. The Normans, 
		when conquering England, extended the meaning of the bell as a 
		signal for all citizens to leave the streets and public places 
		and return to their homes.

Dark Horse: This term, now used in politics for a candidate brought 
		forth at the last moment, had its beginning on the race track. 
		It seems that a Sam Flynn of Tennessee had a coal black horse 
		named Dusky Pete. Short of funds, or means of transportation, 
		Flynn actually rode his horse from town to town, track to track. 
		While Dusky Pete was sluggish when coming into town, he invariably 
		snapped out o his apparent stupor on the track and won a great 
		many races.

Dixie: Here too, the origin of this affectionate nickname for the 
		southern part of the United States is confused and lost in 
		varied legend. There are those who think it stems from the 
		Mason-Dixon line, which was originally established in 1763 
		to settle a dispute between the lord proprietors Baltimore 
		and Penn. The names of the surveyors, Charles Mason and Jeremiah 
		Dixon, were applied to the line which was marked by milestones. 
		This line later marked the boundaries f the free and slave states.

EtiquetteThe original meaning of the word etiquette is "ticket" or 
		"label." The French royal court was once noted for its elaborate 
		functions and for the strict rules of behavior at them. Tickets 
		were given to persons invited to the court, and on the backs of 
		the tickets were outlined the formalities expected of guests. 
		Etiquette, the name of the ticket, eventually was applied to the 
		rules of court behavior. The word entered the English language 
		in the seventeenth century and was broadened in meaning-the 
		rules of proper behavior anywhere in society.

Father's Day: It was in the spring of 1919 that Mrs. John Bruce Dodd 
		of Spokane, Washington, got the idea for Father's Day-an idea 
		that came during a Mother's Day sermon that was full of adulation 
		for motherhood. The preacher was eloquent though he didn't even 
		mention the word "father." Mrs. Dodd's mother had died when she 
		was but a mere child and her thoughts naturally turned to her 
		father who was left with the responsibility of rearing six 
		children. She thought it would be nice to honor him and others 
		like him and took her plan to the preacher who drafted a resolution 
		and on June 10, 1919, the first Father's Day was observed in 
		Spokane. The first observance of truly national proportions was 
		in 1922 on the third Sunday of June.

Fiasco: This rather common word which means "failure" comes from the 
		Italian name for common bottle. It was the practice of ancient 
		Venetian glass blowers, when noticing the slightest flaw in 
		the article upon which they were working, to discard it for 
		later conversion into a common bottle. What might have a beautiful 
		Venetian vase was now a fiasco. In this manner failure and fiasco 
		became associated. From fiasco we also get flask and flagon, 
		other forms of containers.

Filibuster: The word is derived from filibusteros. Originally, the term 
		was applied to those who for power, loot, or adventure organized 
		expeditions in the United States for the invasion of 
		Latin-American countries. These were primarily West Indian pirates 
		who scourged the southern seas in small craft called "filibotes." 
		Hence, use of the term for tactics by minorities that oppose 
		majorities. Currently, filibustering has come to mean a 
		parliamentary device to delay or prevent action by the majority. 
		Its philosophical foundation results in the protection of minority 
		rights. Senate historians say American filibusters of a sort 
		even occurred in Congress as far back as 1789.

G.I: This nickname for the United States soldier became common during 
		World War II. Its meaning derives from the words "Government 
		Issue." The fact that everything a soldier wore, from socks to 
		tunic, trousers and had, and everything he ate, or was paid, 
		was issued by the Government of the U.S. made him, in fact, 
		a complete "Government Issue."

Gobbledygook: This expression first came into use during World War 
		II and is currently defined to mean "inflated, involved, and 
		obscure verbiage characteristic of the prounouncements of 
		officialdom." Congressman Maury Maverick of Texas is given 
		credit for its invention. When asked how he happened to invent 
		the word, he said: "Perhaps I was thinking of the old bearded 
		turkey gobbler back in Texas who strutted around in ludicrous 
		pomposity while boggedy-gobbling. At the end of his gobbles there 
		was as sort of gook to serve as an exclamation point."

God Bless You: This phrase is said to have been originated by the devout 
		Pontiff St. Gregory the Great, who in the year 750 appointed a 
		form of prayer to be said by persons sneezing. At that time it 
		was believed that the air was filled with great impurities and 
		many who sneezed violently were in danger of expelling their souls 
		and that this danger could be counteracted by a proper prayer 
		or phrase.

Golf: There are some who claim that gold is a game of Dutch origin and 
		others who contend it was invented by a Scottish lady who objected 
		to her husband drinking at home. The earliest mention of golf to 
		be found in print is contained in Adamson's Mirthful Mournings, 
		published in 1638.

Good Friday: The day of Jesus' crucifixion probably originally was known 
		as God's Friday. But whether God's or Good, it was a term that 
		carried a happy connotation.

Gossip: This word originally denoted a person bound to another by religious 
		ceremony, such as a sponsor in baptism, and came from Anglo-Saxon 
		godsibb-sib meaning "related to God." Godparents were expected to 
		form a close and intimate relationship with the family whose child 
		they sponsored. The word has degenerated sadly in meaning and from 
		this mood of confiding intimacy, it has taken on its present 
		meaning of "newsmonger" or "tattle."

Gymnasium: In their games in ancient Greece, athletes were not impeded by 
		costumes. Gymnos is the Greek word for "nude"; hence, the word 
		gymnasium would seem to mean "a place where one might exercise 
		in the nude."

Hallowe'en: As we know it today, Hallowe'en seems to have begun with the 
		ancient pagan Druids of Great Britain, who began their ear on 
		November 1, at which time witches and hobgoblins were supposed 
		to have had their last fling of the year. With the coming of 
		Christianity, the "New Year's Day" became "All Saints Day," and 
		the evening before became known as "All Hallows' Eve." It is from 
		this mixture of superstition and religion that we get the present 
		Hallowe'en with its costumes, etc.
      		Scottish Children first cared jack-o'-lanterns from large turnips 
		instead of from pumpkins. Also in 
		Scotland, people believed that women who had sold their souls to 
		the devil changed into witches on Hallowe'en, and that they flew up 
		their chimneys on broomsticks, attended by black cats.
     		It was the Irish who started the custom of going from door to door 
		asking for food or money. The "trick or treat" custom employed by 
		children today dates back to seventeenth century Ireland when 
		peasants sought luxuries for a feast at the doors of the wealthy. 
		However, the idea of the householder forestalling a prankish trick 
		by coming across with a treat seems to be strictly an American custom.

Hammock: Sailors who accompanied Columbus to the New World found the Carib 
		Indians using this device not only for sleeping, but as a means of 
		transporting their children. Finding these more cool and comfortable 
		than sleeping on the open deck, the sailors introduced that which 
		we now call hammocks to their native Europeans upon their return. 
		The word comes from the Spanish hamaca, of West Indian origin.

Handicap: This would appear to be a contraction of "hand-in-cap," the old 
		English game which consisted of bartering articles, with contestants 
		giving "boots" or odds as decreed by an umpire. The players were 
		required to deposit forfeit money in a cap, and hand-in-cap would 
		seem to indicate the method of drawing lots.

Horsepower-Power is the rate at which energy is being spent, or the rate at 
		which work is being done. Though it may be expressed in terms of 
		horsepower, it bears no exact relation to animal horsepower. What 
		we term horsepower is so called because it originated from the 
		results of experiments carried out with strong draft horses by 
		James Watt more than a century ago. He wished to find out the rate 
		at which a horse, under average conditions, does its work, and he 
		fixed this rate, as a round figure, at 550 foot-pounds of work a 
		second, or 33000 foot-pounds a minute-that is to say, work equivalent 
		to that needed to raise a weight of 550 pounds one foot high in one 
		second. Watt took this as the value of one horsepower, although he 
		realized that it was a higher rate of work than an average horse can 
		maintain for a full day. Of course, a horse, if stirred by a whip, 
		can exert a much greater effort but only for a very short time.

Iron Curtain: The phrase was first used by Winston Churchill in a foreign 
		affairs debate shortly after the Potsdam Conference in 1945. 
		He described the difficulty of obtaining any reliable information 
		about what was happening in Eastern Europe because of the iron 
		curtain, which had divided the Continent. He used the phrase again 
		a few months later in 1946 in his famous speech at Fulton, Missouri, 
		when with the President of the United States in his audience.
		There are others who claim that the phrase was originated by Mrs. 
		Ethel Snowden, who later became Lady Snowden, wife of Viscount 
		Snowden, who was Chancellor of the Exchequer, in 1924. In her book, 
		through Bolshevik Russia, she had the line "We are behind 
		the Iron Curtain at last."

Jackpot: This is a term used in the game of draw-poker and describes he 
		pot (accumulation of money staked by players), which cannot be 
		opened until a player has a pair of jacks or better.

Labor Day: As we know it, Labor Day in the United States grew out of 
		September parades held in New York City by the Knights of Labor 
		in the early 1880's. The first state to establish Labor Day as a 
		legal holiday was the State of Oregon, which in 1887 set aside the 
		first Saturday in June as Labor Day. Later in the same year the 
		states of Colorado, New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts followed 
		suit and set the day as the first Monday in September. In 1894, 
		Congress declared the day to be a national holiday. The aim of 
		Labor Day originally was to remind people that the fruits of 
		industry were the product of brawn as well as brain, and of labor 
		as well as of capital. Today it seems to be the day that marks the 
		end of the summer vacation period.

Lobbyist: A person who tries to get laws passed favoring a special-interest 
		group is know as a lobbyist. The name derives from the fact that 
		lobbyists spent their time in lobbies of various legislatures trying 
		to talk to legislator and influence their votes.

Mason-Dixon Line: In popular United States parlance, the Mason-Dixon 
		boundary divides North from South-an assumption based largely on 
		the mistaken belief that during the Civil War it separated the 
		Confederate states from the Union states.
		The line was drawn to end an early colonial land dispute. It 
		extends, from east to west, between Pennsylvania and Maryland, 
		with a shorter branch reaching southward between Maryland and 
		Delaware. All three states were on the Union side. The line was 
		named for two English surveyors, Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, 
		two skilled mathematicians and astronomers.

Memorial Day: That day set apart each year, first by custom and later by 
		statute, for the purpose of honoring the memory of the soldiers 
		who fought in the Civil War, is a successor to Decoration Day 
		which originated with the southern states when flowers were 
		strewn over the soldiers' graves. After hostilities between the 
		Union and Confederate forces had ceased, the widows and friends 
		of the slain southerners showed their sincere love and gratitude 
		to their fallen heroes in this fashion. This was not confined to 
		Confederate graves only. These fine women of the South also 
		decorated the graves of the northern dead. The news of this 
		touching tribute flashed across the North as a ray of new light 
		and hope for brotherhood, and in 1868, General John A. Logan, then 
		Commander in Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, showed his 
		deep admiration of this symbolic custom by issuing an order 
		designating May 30th of that year as the one on which all posts 
		of the G.A.R should commemorate the dead of the Civil War by 
		decorating their graves with floral bouquets and wreaths. Action 
		was soon taken by the legislatures of the various states and the 
		30th of May was set aside for the purpose in the majority of states.

Mother's Day: The miss Anna Jarvis of Philadelphia goes the credit for 
		inspiring national recognition of a day set aside for veneration of 
		mothers and motherhood. Her mother had been an active worker in the 
		church and community affairs of the small Virginia town where she 
		spent her entire life.
		In the early 1900's, shortly after her mother's death, she was 
		asked to arrange a special memorial service in the church her 
		mother had attended. Realizing the universal beauty of the idea, 
		Miss Jarvis bought her experience to the attention of the church 
		people in Philadelphia where she lived. On the second Sunday in 
		May, 1908, the churches of that city observed their first Mother's 
		Day services. These services were so widely acclaimed that she 
		quietly but persistently campaigned for nationwide observance. 
		Through her persuasion, Senator Burkett of Nebraska introduced a 
		bill into Congress designating the second Sunday in May-the day 
		on which Mrs. Jarvis was born-as a national Mother's Day. 1924 was 
		the first Mother's Day.

News: Early newspapers printed a sign at the top of the first page of every 
		issue indicating the four points of the compass. This implied that 
		the information printed came from the north, east, west, and south. 
		Later this sign was simplified until it appeared as "N-E-W-S." So 
		NOW we have the word news, meaning "the latest information from the 
		four corners of the globe."

Nylon: As the story goes, the term nylon was given to a product created by 
		its inventor, who worked on developing it both in New York and 
		London. By taking the first letters of New York and combining it 
		with the first three letters of London, one gets the word nylon.

Oscar: The gold statuette, symbolic of the Motion Picture Academy Awards, 
		was given its name by Mrs. Margaret Herrick in 1931. She was then 
		executive secretary of the Academy. Studying the figure, she remarked 
		that it had the square jaw and sharp features of an uncle who 
		happened to be named Oscar. Bette Davis and other movie stars 
		referred to the trophy as Oscar and the name stuck.

Pastor: This title, which we use interchangeably with preacher and minister 
		originally meant shepherd.

Perfume: Literally par fume, meaning "through smoke," and probably extending 
		back to primitive times when the only perfume the caveman knew was 
		released by burning woods and gums.

Phi Beta Kappa: This honorary scholastic fraternity was founded December 5, 
		1776, by fifty men at the College of William and Mary in 
		Williamsburg, Virginia. The Greek letters phi, beta and kappa are 
		the initials of the Greek words meaning "Philosophy, the Guide 
		of Life." Membership in this fraternity results from persons being 
		elected by vote of college faculty members among senior and junior 
		college students with the best academic records.

Playing cards: Present-day playing cards were designed in 1393 by Jack 
		Gringonneur, court painter to Charles VI of France. He founded his 
		pack on a regular system. A pack consists of fifty-cards. The number 
		of weeks in a year; there are thirteen cards to a suit, the number 
		of lunar months. The four suits represent the four social classes of 				Gringonneur's time. Spades were for the pikemen or soldiery; clubs 
		were designed as a cloverleaf, the emblem of husbandry; diamonds 
		represented the diamond-shaped hat of the artisan; and hearts came 
		from the French word Coeur, an evolution from Chorur, meaning "the 
		clergy." The first cards used in the United States were brought by 
		the Spanish to their early settlements.

Pool: Originally a poolroom was a place in which lottery tickets were sold. 
		Lottery, because of the manner in which winnings were paid off, 
		was called "pool." Since lottery tickets were sold all day and the 
		drawings were not held until late in the evening, proprietors of 
		poolrooms installed billiard tables to occupy their customers 
		during the long waiting periods. The game of billiards was either 
		too slow or too difficult for the hangers-on. They devised a game 
		of their own, first called "pocket billiards" and later "pool."

Radar: The name for this military device comes from the first letters of 
		the unabbreviated name which describes its function-Radio 
		Detection and Ranging.

Robot: This term is synonymous with automation. It was popularized in the 
		1920's when the Czech playwright Karel Capek brought his play, 
		"R.U.R." to the United States. These initials stand for Rossum's 
		Universal Robots, a firm manufacturing mechanical men. The word 
		"robot" stems from the Czech word robotnik, which means "slave," 
		which in turn comes from robota, which means "to work."

St. Valentine's Day: The custom of sending declarations of love on 
		St. Valentines' Day began in medieval France and England. The 
		popular belief was that birds began to pair February 14, which 
		made it a proper occasion for sending lovers' tokens. The tokens 
		took their name from the saint of the day, a third-century priest 
		named Valentine.

Sandwich: It was during the reign of King George III that what we now know 
		as a sandwich was named after the Earl of Sandwich. He was supposed 
		to have been so great a gambler that he could not wait to eat his 
		meals, but instead took his food in this form so that he would not 
		lose any time while he continued his play. While originally 
		sandwiches consisted solely of meat and bread, nowadays they 
		take on many different forms.

Santa Claus: This name would seem to be a German corruption of St. Nicholas, 
		a fourth-century bishop who died in the year 352 A.D. His birthday 
		was long celebrated on December 6 in Europe. Legend has it that on 
		the evening of that day he made his tour, visiting palace and 
		cottage alike, the children placed stockings or other receptacles 
		for the gifts which he was expected to drop down to them through 
		the chimneys of their homes. The Dutch brought the custom to New 
		Amsterdam and called him Sinter Klaas, wich in English became 
		Santa Claus.
		Dr. Clement Clarke Moore of New York, in a famous poem entitled 
		A Visit from St. Nicholas, first published in December, 
		1823, put the Santa Claus myth in the form we now accept in this 
		country. It was he who invented the sleigh and the reindeer and 
		all else that goes with it, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, 
		Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen.

Scapegoat: This word comes from ancient times when on Yom Kippur, the 
		Jewish Day of Atonement, Aaron laid the sins of the people on the 
		head of a goat and sent it into the wilderness. At the same time 
		that this was going on, a second goat was sacrificed to the Lord. 
		Thus it is that the modern scapegoat means "one who is made to bear 
		the blame for another."

Siamese Twins: The name is derived from a set of twins, Chang and Eng, 
		born of Chinese parents in Siam in 1811. The term is used to 
		designate two nearly complete individuals united side by side or 
		back to back. Chang and Eng were exhibited for many years in 
		P.T. Barnum's circus, after which they settled in North Carolina, 
		married English sistes, and had a total of 22 children. They died 
		within two hours of each other in 1874.

Sophomore: This comes to us from the Greek language. It is a combination 
		of the word sophos, meaning "wise," and moros, meaning "fool"-the 
		combination "wise fool" meaning one who knows enough at least to 
		understand that he does not know everything, which would make 
		such an attitude the beginning of true wisdom.

S.O.S.: In the opinion of some persons the distress signal used y ships at 
		sea means "Save Our Ship." But the letters do not stand for words 
		and have no meaning in themselves. They were adopted at the Radio 
		Telegraph Conference in 1912 because the combination of dots and 
		dashes (three dots, three dashes, three dots) was so easy to send 
		that the most inexperienced radio operator would have no difficulty 
		with it.

Spoonerism: William Archibald Spooner, dean and warden of New College, 
		Oxford, gave his name, perhaps unwillingly, to the freak of s
		peech in which letters or sounds in one word are transposed to 
		another nearby word. The only authenticated spoonerism by the 
		late warden occurred in New College Chapel in 1879 when he 
		announced the hymn "Conquering Kings" as "Kinkering Congs."

Table Tennis: The first table tennis balls probably were champagne corks. 
		In the 1890's Mr. James Gibb, a Cambridge (England) engineer, 
		invented the game in which the corks were knocked from one side 
		of the table to the other with cigar box lids. A few years later 
		the game was revolutionized when an English visitor to the United 
		States noticed babies playing with celluloid balls. On his 
		suggestion, these balls replaced the cork and rubber ones then 
		in use. The game was known as ping-pong and stayed  that way until 
		1927. Then it was changed to table tennis because ping-pong was 
		proprietary name belonging to a firm making equipment for the game.

Tabloid: This word, coined in the nineteenth century, was applied to 
		many products in condensed and compact form. In the United States 
		it has been applied to newspapers with pages about half the usual 
		size.

Tariff: When the Moors were masters of Spain their ships used to lie in 
		wait for merchant vessels coming through the Straits of Gibraltar 
		bound for Italy, Greece, and Egypt. The Moors were no fool. 
		Instead of plundering the vessels they levied a sort of blackmail 
		with a fixed scale of payment based on the value of the cargo…this 
		was determined at their port of Tarifa. Thus originated the word 
		tariff. Some people still think the tariff is a form of piracy 
		after all these years of government sanction.

Thanksgiving Day: The custom of celebrating a day of thanks in this 
		country was originated by Governor Bradford of Massachusetts 
		after the first harvest of the Pilgrims in 1621. President 
		George Washington proclaimed November 26, 1789 to be a day of 
		thanksgiving. In 1815, President Madison set aside a day of 
		thanks to mark the return of peace after the War of 1812. By 
		1830 the State of New York had adopted a day of thanksgiving as 
		an annual custom, and other states soon followed. In 1863, at 
		the urging of Mrs. Sarah J. Hale, editor of Godey's Lady's Book, 
		President Lincoln issued a proclamation fixing the fourth Thursday 
		in November as Thanksgiving Day. Later, the official national 
		Thanksgiving Day became the last Thursday in November. In 1939, 
		President Roosevelt proclaimed November 23 to be the day of 
		observance but many states refused to accept this and continued 
		to use November 30. It was not until 1941 that Congress got 
		around to fixing a national date and decreed that Thanksgiving 
		in each year should be the third Thursday in November, which it 
		now is.

To the Bitter End: This phrase has a nautical origin. A ship's anchor 
		chain, at the point where it was fastened to a vertical timber 
		called the bitt, was known as the bitter end. Thus when the chain 
		has been played out to the bitter end, there's nothing more that 
		can be done.

Tuxedo: Tuxedo comes from Algonquian Indian p'tauk-seet, "the bear"-an 
		animal black and tailless.

Uncle Same: This term came into use in the War of 1812 and was born at 
		Troy, New York. The government inspector there was Uncle Sam 
		Wilson, and when the war opened Elbert Anderson, the contractor 
		at New York, bought a large amount of beef, pork, and pickles for 
		the army. These were inspected by Wilson, and were duly labeled 
		E.A.-U.S., meaning Albert Anderson, for the United States. The 
		term U.S. for the United States was then somewhat new, and the 
		workmen concluded that they referred to Uncle Sam Wilson. After 
		the discovered their mistake, they kept up the name as a joke. 
		These same men soon went to the war. There they repeated the 
		joke. It got into print and went the rounds. From that time on 
		the term "Uncle Sam" was used facetiously for the United States, 
		and it now represents the nation.

Undertaker: Long years ago each village had a handy man who earned his 
		living by "undertaking" odd jobs of any kind. Laying out and 
		embalming corpses, an undesirable task to most people, usually 
		fell to his lot. The "handy man" has narrowed his field to 
		embalming and burying, and prefers the more dignified title of 
		mortician, but the original term, undertaker, still sticks around.

Wall Street: The center of one of the greatest financial districts in 
		the world, Wall Street is situated in the lower part of 
		Manhattan Island, New York City, and extends east from Broadway 
		to the East River. The street received its name from a stockade, 
		or wall, which was built in 1653 by Peter Stuyvesant, Dutch 
		colonial governor, to protect the area south of the wall from 
		the English and the Indians.

Windfall: Good fortune is often called a windfall. This stems from 
		medieval England, when commoners had trouble finding wood for 
		fuel. Royal decree prohibited them from chopping down trees, so 
		when wind knocked down branches it was a stroke of good luck.

"X" (The Unknown Quantity): The Greeks were such concrete thinkers that 
		they didn't bother to develop an algebra with abstract 
		"unknowns." The Egyptians hold the earliest claim to 
		equation-writing: a manuscript of 1800 B.C. speaks of the 
		unknown as hau-"heap." The Hindus did better. They used 
		abbreviated syllables or initials of objects, but they also had 
		plus, and minus and equal signs. The sixteenth century 
		Frenchman, Vieta, is credited with first using capital letters 
		for unknowns. Fifty years after his death, Descartes' Geometrie 
		appeared which specified that the beginning letters of the alphabet 
		be used for given quantities, the end letters for unknowns-and so 
		it still is done today.

FIRST
		Newspaper Cartoon, The first newspaper cartoon in America appeared 
		on May 9, 1754, when Benjamin Franklin's "Join or Die" cartoon was 
		printed in the Pennsylvania Gazette. It depicted a dissected snake, 
		each part labeled with the name of a colony.

		Woman pharmacist: On March 16, 1883, Susan Hayhurst became the 
		first woman pharmacist upon her graduation from the Philadelphia 
		College of Pharmacy with the degree of PH.C.

Source: Jacob M. Braude, Origins and Firsts