Category Archives: Etymology

Goody Two Shoes

Why do we say someone is a “goody two shoes” when they are annoyingly and smugly well-behaved? What is the origin of the phrase goody two shoes?

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As Sick as a Dog Origin

Why do we say someone is “as sick as a dog”?

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Egg on the Face: Egg on your face Origin

Why do we say: “You’ve got egg on your face” when someone’s done something leaving them looking embarrassed or foolish? What is the “egg on your face” origin?

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Loo Origin: Why is it called a Loo?

The reason why Brits call toilets “loos” is one of the unsolved mysteries of etymology, however this is not for lack of trying! The word has been traced to rise into common usage around the 1920s, and plenty of theories … Continue reading

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The Pound Sign: Origin of the Pound Sign

Why do we use this “£” symbol to denote a British pound? What is the origin of the pound sign?

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lbs pounds: Why is lb the abbreviation for pounds?

It’s not immediately intuitive how pounds became abbreviated to lbs. Why do we write lbs as an abbreviation for pounds?

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Dead as a Doornail Origin: Why do I say something is As Dead as a Doornail?

Since the 14th century1,2 people have declared things to be dead as doornails. It makes sense as doornails are indeed dead inanimate objects, but then so are diamonds, doughnuts, and doorknobs. So why were doornails chosen of all things? What … Continue reading

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Origins of the Piggy Bank: Why do we have piggy banks? A piggy bank history

You may have already met Rupert the pig on my donate page. Why a pig of all creatures on my donate page? Because he’s a piggy bank of course! (Well, that and because he gallantly offered to help me promote … Continue reading

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Meaning of RSVP: What does RSVP stand for?

Since the days of Emily Post it’s been widely known that a prompt reply to an invitation’s RSVP is common courtesy. Whilst many of us are accustomed to seeing RSVP written elegantly on invitations, a surprisingly high amount of us … Continue reading

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The Lion’s Share: Why do we say someone got the lion’s share?

When someone gets the lion’s share of something (be it a cake, profits from a company, or anything else), it means they are getting most, if not all of it. Why would a lion’s share mean this? Where does this … Continue reading

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