Category Archives: English

Origins of Some Everyday Things

This of you that have been following a while may remember this post. That’s because you will – in order to refresh some of my past work and make it fresh I’m reposting it and maybe a dding a bit or two. Starting here :

I’m surprised about how much of our modern life and what we say is based in on life many years old. Some of it over 100 years old. It’s logical that this is the case – but how much do you realise comes from long forgotten traditions or crafts? Here’s a few examples:

Long Summer Holidays:


Enjoying the long summer holiday kids? This long summer break was originally meant so the kids could help bring in the harvest. So come on… get out there and work!



Fed up with being labelled a bodger? The origin of this word denoted a skilled craftsman that made wooden legs and spars, it nothing to do with being sloppy.

Upper / Lower Case:


In this modern world of computing we can easily make letters in CAPITALS or not. In Victorian times when printing was carried out there would be two cases of letters used at the printers. The capitals would be in the upper case and the small letters would be in the lower case. Now where have I heard that term before?

The Whole Nine Yards:

9 yard ammuniation

The whole nine yards refers to the Spitfire pilots firing off all their ammunition at once. There was 9 yards of this ammunition and it would last for only 14 seconds. I’ve also heard this saying has come from the American bomber gunners and other similar sources. But you get the point.

I’m hoping a few people will read this and have some suggestions or other things they’re heard of which could form another post on this (if you can tolerate it) I think it’s interesting where many of our terms come from and they’re not as modern as we would like to think.

Simon šŸ™‚