List of words
--"Facetious" and "Abstemious" are the only two words in the English language that contain the vowels A, E, I, O, and U in their proper order.
--"E" is the most-frequently used letter in the English alphabet; one out of every eight letters used in English is an "E". "Q" is the least-used letter.
--The word "Queue" is the only word in the English language that is still pronounced the same way when the last four letters are removed.
--There are no words in the dictionary that rhyme with: orange, purple, silver and month.
--There are only 4 words in the English language which end in 'dous':
tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous.
--TYPEWRITER is the longest word that can be made using the letters only on one row of the keyboard.
SON OF A GUN: After sailors had crossed the Atlantic to the West Indies, they would take the native women on board the ship and have their way with them in between the cannons. Some of the women the sailors left behind would have boys, who were called sons between the guns.
BEAT AROUND THE BUSH: Game birds were scared out of their hiding places under bushes and then killed.
MINDING YOUR P's AND Q's: Ale was served at local taverns out of a "tankard" ... you were charged by the angle of your elbow ... half-way up... you drank a pint, all the way up... you drank a quart. Since the Quart cost so much more than the Pint, you were warned to "Mind your Ps & Qs".
WET YOUR WHISTLE: Many years ago in England, pub frequenters had a whistle baked into the rim or handle of their ceramic cups. When they needed a refill, they used to blow the whistle to get some service.
SAVED BY THE BELL: When our ancestors realized that they were burying a great deal of people before their time had actually come, they came up with a solution. They tied a string onto the "dead" person's hand, buried them, and tied the other end of the string to a bell and then tied it to nearby tree branch. If the person revived enough to ring the bell, their survivors would rush out and dig them up. Hence... "saved by the bell".
GIVING THE COLD SHOULDER: When a guests would over stay their welcome as house guests, the hosts would (instead of feeding them good, warm meals) give their too-long staying guests the worst part of the animal, not warmed, but the COLD SHOULDER.
MIND YOUR OWN BEESWAX: This came from the days when smallpox was a regular disfigurement. Fine ladies would fill in the pocks with beeswax. However when the weather was very warm the wax might melt. But it was not the thing to do for one lady to tell another that her makeup needed attention. Hence the sharp rebuke to "mind your own beeswax!"
HIGH-TAILING IT: In the early American west, wild horses were notoriously difficult to capture because they spooked easily and took off like a shot. Wranglers noticed that when a horse sensed danger, it would raise its tail just before bolting - or high-tailing it - out of there. The phrase quickly came to describe anyone who left someplace in a hurry.
SLEEP TIGHT: In Shakespeare's time, mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes when you pulled on the ropes the mattress tightened, making the bed firmer to sleep on. Hence the phrase "goodnight, sleep tight".
CLIMB ON THE BANDWAGON: Long ago, bands on the platforms of traveling wagons played music to announce a parade or political speech. To show their support, people would often jump onto the platform and join the band. Today, this idiom usually refers to someone who hopes to benefit from supporting another person's idea.
PEN IS MIGHTIER THAN SWORD: In seventeenth-century England, a free press was banned by the government. This meant that people who disagreed with the government and printed their views were punished. In spite of this, people published their ideas and opinions in illegal pamphlets that were distributed to the public. The proverb means that the written expression of ideas cannot be stopped by physical force.
RAINING CATS & DOGS: In Norse mythology, the dog is associated with wind and the cat with storms. This expression means it's raining very heavily.
SHED CROCODILE TEARS: Crocodiles have a reflex that causes their eyes to tear when they open their mouths. This makes it look as though they are crying while devouring their prey. In fact, neither crocodiles nor people who shed “crocodile” tears feel sorry for their actions.
That's it for now. I hope you enjoyed these! I found some of the etymologies/idioms on an msn search for things like "linguistic trivia" and "funny words". I'll be back soon (probably tomorrow) with some more linguistic & vocabulary tidings. =D Stay imperturbable!