Tag Archives: Language

MUNDANE MYSTERIES: Why Is An Unidentified Person Called “John Doe”?

The news is regularly filled with reports of murders & missing persons cases involving unknown person. And that unknown person is usually referred to as “John Doe”. But why? Why do we call unidentified people John Doe until their real identity is established? This all comes from a weird, no-longer-in-use British legal procedure called an…Read More

MUNDANE MYSTERIES: Why Are They Called “Piggy-Back Rides”?

MUNDANE MYSTERIES: Why Are They Called “Piggy-Back Rides”?

Catching a ride on the back of a pig isn’t really a thing, right? And yet, people love horsing around & giving others what are called “piggyback rides”. But why are they called “piggyback rides”? I mean, people walk on two feet, right? Pigs, on the other hand, hoof it on four. What gives? Where…Read More

MUNDANE MYSTERIES: How To Pronounce “Caramel” Correctly

MUNDANE MYSTERIES: How To Pronounce “Caramel” Correctly

Thanks to the intricacies of our amazing English language, one thing is all but guaranteed: more often than not, we’re all going to mispronounce a word (or twelve). Because of the complexity of American English, how a word is spelled doesn’t always exactly indicate how it’s supposed to sound. And that can cause some embarrassment…Read More

MUNDANE MYSTERIES: What Does “Spick & Span” Actually Mean?

MUNDANE MYSTERIES: What Does “Spick & Span” Actually Mean?

It’s Springtime again! And that means it’s time for “spring cleaning”, in the hopes of making your home, car, office, etc., look super clean & like new. Your goal should be to make your place look “spick & span”, you might say. But what does that even really mean, “spick & span”? The full phrase…Read More

MUNDANE MYSTERIES: Why Do We Say We Get “The Willies”?

MUNDANE MYSTERIES: Why Do We Say We Get “The Willies”?

Getting caught in a spider web…walking through an abandoned warehouse…getting caught in a spider web while walking through an abandoned warehouse…those might make you feel uneasy, scared, or otherwise upset. Some would call that a case of “the willies”. But what are “the willies”? Who, or what, were they named after? And how did they…Read More

MUNDANE MYSTERIES: What Does “Goodbye” Really Mean?

MUNDANE MYSTERIES: What Does “Goodbye” Really Mean?

Most of our greetings & farewells are pretty straightforward, especially ones that begin with good (like “good morning”, “good afternoon”, “good night”, etc.). But what about “goodbye”? Are you basically saying, “I hope you have a good bye”? What is a “bye”? Is it some old word once used to reference a certain time of…Read More

MUNDANE MYSTERIES: Why The Weird Spelling of February?

MUNDANE MYSTERIES: Why The Weird Spelling of February?

Why is February spelled weird? We have a plethora of oddly spelled words in the English language, but February is pretty much the only of our calendar months to be classified as oddly-spelled. Why is that? Well, like the eleven other, more intuitively spelled months, we have Latin to thank (or blame, as the case…Read More

MUNDANE MYSTERIES: Why Do We “Ring In” The New Year?

MUNDANE MYSTERIES: Why Do We “Ring In” The New Year?

As we prepare to “ring in” the New Year with all sorts of revelries, like toasts, kisses, New Year’s resolutions, movie marathons, and more…have you ever wondered why none of those things ring? So why do say we’re going to “ring in” the New Year? Back when the phrase first originated, it actually involved things…Read More

MUNDANE MYSTERIES: What Does “Bah! Humbug!” Really Mean?

MUNDANE MYSTERIES: What Does “Bah! Humbug!” Really Mean?

Ever heard the phrase, “Bah! Humbug!” around Christmastime & wonder what it means? The most famous examples of the phrase come from Charles Dickens’s timeless 1843 tale, A Christmas Carol, in which the curmudgeonly Ebenezer Scrooge regularly proclaims “Bah! Humbug!” when referring to Christmas. Since Scrooge particularly hates the otherwise happy holiday, it’s easy to…Read More