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.

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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Fascism, Corporations, and Merriam-Webster A popular meme repeated confused and inaccurate claims about the purported links between fascism and...
    False
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glass of whisky on wooden table
Did the Phrase ‘a Shot of Whiskey’ Originate in the Old West? Anecdotal reports say the expression "a shot of whiskey" came into being when cowboys traded...
    False
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Is ‘Covfefe’ a Word in Arabic? Yiddish? ‘Antediluvian’? After President Donald Trump mistyped (then deleted) a tweet, some hurried to ascribe meanings to...
    False
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The Origins of 420 The story of how the code '420' entered drug parlance as a term signifying the...
    True
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Origins of the Guillotine Dr. Joseph Guillotin neither invented the guillotine nor was executed with one of those machines.
    False
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Etymology of Sirloin The cut of steak known as "sirloin" is not so named because an English king...
    False
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