Language

The very tool we use to communicate urban legends to each other — language — is itself a source of folklore. A number of the words and phrases in use today have interesting origins that have almost become obscured in the mists of time. Equally, our sense of romance leads us to invent unusual origins for commonplace words rather than be satisfied with their mundane beginnings.

In March 2021, it was rumored that first lady Jill Biden mispronounced the Spanish phrase, “Si Se Puede,” during a speech.
Did Jill Biden Mispronounce the Spanish Phrase ‘Si Se Puede’? The first lady was visiting the first headquarters of the United Farm Workers union.
    True
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Boat, Transportation, Vehicle
Is Greenland Called Greenland Because It’s a Green Land? Erik the Red's 10th century marketing ploy is still fooling some people.
    Mostly False
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pandemicide
Is ‘Pandemicide’ a New Word Coined To Describe Trump’s COVID-19 Response? The earliest use of the term we found was from 2020.
    Mixture
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Sailing ships
Is It ‘Sea Shanty’ or ‘Sea Chanty’? The word for a sailor's work song is pronounced SHAN-tee, but how you choose to...
    False
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Did Facebook Apologize for Removing ‘Plymouth Hoe’ Posts? Plymouth Hoe is a landmark in Devon, England. The social media site erroneously flagged the...
    True
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Does ‘Homework’ Spelled Backwards Mean ‘Child Abuse’ in Latin? Thousands of languages have existed throughout the history of humanity. There is no evidence the...
    False
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Do Most People Struggle To Recognize the Lowercase Letter ‘G’? The letter "G" is one of several English letters that has multiple lowercase versions.
    True
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Did Merriam-Webster Update Its Entry on ‘Sexual Preference’ After Barrett Hearing? U.S. Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett had been described by advocacy groups as “hostile...
    True
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Does ‘Quarantine’ Originate from the Word ‘Forty’ (Days) in Italian? A "quarantine" separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious...
    True
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Was the First Known Use of ‘OMG’ Written in a Letter to Churchill? Many may assume the term "OMG" originated with teens and smart phones.
    True
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Why Is It ‘Cancelled’ in the UK, But ‘Canceled’ in America? Is it true that extraneous letters were dropped from certain words in American English because...
    False
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Etymology of ‘Tag’ How factual is the claim that the name of the children's game 'tag' originated as...
    False
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