Acid Test Ratio & Acid Test Etymology

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Acid Test Meaning

In the world of finance and banking, the term “acid test ratio” is a number that tells you about the financial integrity of the company. It tells you how likely a company is to pay its short-term debts and obligations on time. Typically companies with low ratio numbers (especially those less than 1) are considered risky, whilst those with a higher number are in better stead and pass the figurative acid test. Have you ever wondered why such an assessment would be called an “acid test ratio”?

In non-financial terms too, why do we use phrases like: ” The acid test for your friendship is seeing if a friend will agree to take you to the airport at 5:30am!” How did “acid test” come to mean “the ultimate test of genuineness, quality and worth”? How did the phrase “acid test” arise?
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Nando’s Chicken and the Portuguese Rooster

Portuguese Rooster of Luck zazzle_bag

Why is there the Portuguese tradition of decorating things with good luck roosters? Continue reading

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Why people go on pilgrimages

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Most of us have heard of people who have made religious pilgrimages but for those who are not particularly religious or those who know little about the details of a pilgrimage, the idea of what drives a person to walk for days to get to a holy site can be quite mysterious when in our day and age they could get there through modern transportation. Why do people go on pilgrimages? Continue reading

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Nautical Fashion & The Breton Stripe: Why do sailors wear stripes?

Cute Cartoon Sailor zazzle_sticker

When you think “sailors” you may picture men in Cracker Jack style Dixie cup hats and Popeye-esque anchor tattoos, or you may picture men in navy and white horizontal “sailor stripe” shirts. Have you ever wondered why nautical fashion involves the famous sailor stripes? Continue reading

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Mothering Sunday: Britain’s History of Mother’s Day

Mothering Sunday Card card

If you’re British or are familiar with British customs, you’ll know that in the UK there is a different date for Mother’s Day celebrations than in the States. What’s more, traditionally the British day of celebration is not known as Mother’s day, but rather as Mothering Sunday. With all these differences, it’s not surprising that the history of Mothering Sunday is a very different one from the American Mother’s Day. This article explores the story behind the origin of Mothering Sunday. Continue reading

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Why do we say butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth?

A Croissant with a Butter Curl

The phrase “butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth” is one of the most misunderstood phrases in the English language. Some people think it is used to mean that a person is sweet and innocent whilst others are adamant that it means that a person is a manipulator or a liar. It seems a bit surprising to find one phrase with such polar opposite interpretations. So which is it? And what’s it got to do with butter melting? What’s the story behind the idiom “butter wouldn’t melt in your mouth”? Continue reading

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“In a nutshell” Meaning and Origin

Walnut

The idiom, “in a nutshell” is used when you want to say that the description you’re giving is concise, to-the-point and brief. It is the information boiled down to its simplest form. The question is: where do nuts enter this equation? Continue reading

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Christmas Robin: Why are robins on Christmas cards?

Season's tweetings Cute Christmas Robin Xmas card card

If you’re ever in Britain around Christmas time, you’ll find pictures of robin red breasts adorning Christmas cards, ornaments, stamps, chocolate boxes, shop windows and Christmas wrapping paper. Their images can even be found decorating Christmas cakes. How did the humble European robin become the Christmas robin? Continue reading

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The Peace Sign Symbol: History and Meaning of the Peace Sign

Have you ever wondered how a circled straight line intersected by an upside down V-shape became a peace symbol? Here’s a look at the peace sign origins: Continue reading

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History of cakes: The history of the Birthday Cake

There Will Be Cake! Party Invitation postcard

Why do we celebrate birthdays with birthday cake?

Have you ever wondered why we celebrate birthdays with cake? Why not fruit salad? Or chopped liver? The answer lies in the history of birthday celebrations. Continue reading

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