It’s a myth that the camp followers of Union General Joseph Hooker gave us the popular euphemism for a prostitute. It’s true they were called “Hooker’s division,” or “Hooker’s reserves,” but the word predates the American Civil War as, of course, does the profession. It first appeared in 1845 as a reference to an area of New York known as “the Hook,” where ladies of the night could be found in abundance.
Studies have shown that hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of children and teenagers are accidentally killed by guns in the United States each year. Millions of American kids have access to guns in their homes. People use guns all the time in movies and television shows, and the action scenes in these shows make guns look exciting and powerful. What these shows can’t really convey is the massive, painful destruction an exploding bullet causes when it hits a person’s body. While many kids understand that, in real life, guns can be very dangerous and can cause great harm, most still find guns fascinating. If an adult is supervising and your parents have given their approval, it’s okay to look at and even touch an unloaded gun. But if you are alone or with other kids and you come across a gun, remember that it is not a toy and should not be handled. Guns should never be pointed at another person, even if you intend it as a joke.
If you find a gun in your own house, a friend’s house, or elsewhere, as tempting as it might be to play with it, remember the damage that guns can cause and leave it alone. If you’re away from home, leave right away and tell your parents what happened. Your parents may be upset and worried that you found a gun, but they will be very glad that you told them about it because then they can help you stay safe.
As we go up, the pressure and density of air goes on decreasing. A Partially filled pen leaks when taken to a higher altitude because the pressure of air acting on the ink inside the tube of the pen is greater than the pressure of the air outside.
Sailing under false colours means to sail under the enemy flag, and it was once a legitimate naval manoeuvre used to get close enough to the enemy for a surprise attack. At the last moment, just before opening fire, the false colours were lowered and replaced by the ship’s “true colours.” Although such deception is now considered dishonourable, we still say when someone we trusted reveals himself as the enemy that he is showing his “true colours.”
In Europe during the Middle Ages, the “cold shoulder” had two purposes. If guests overstayed their welcome they were often served cooked but cold beef shoulder at every meal until they tired of the bland diet and left. The other “cold shoulder” was leftover mutton that was saved to give to the poor to discourage them from begging at the pantry.
The phrase “hoisted with his own petard” is found in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. It has come to mean that someone has been or will be hurt by the very device he’s created to injure someone else. Hoist means to raise something into the air, while petard is an antiquated word for bomb. Therefore, if you were “hoisted on your own petard,” it means you were blown up by your own bomb.
Some say that during the Mexican-American war at the end of the nineteenth century, locals heard the invaders singing “Green Grow the Lilacs” and simply picked up “gringo” from “green grow.” Others say that because the American uniforms were green, the expression came from a rallying cry: “Green, go!” But, in fact, gringo is a Spanish word on its own and is a slang insult for anyone who is fair-skinned and looks foreign.
Wood contains a complex mixture of gases and tar forming vapors trapped under its surface. These gases and tar vapors escape, making a cracking sound.
The British custom of driving on the left was passed down from the Romans. The chariot driver stayed to the left in order to meet an approaching enemy with his right sword hand. Americans switched to driving on the right because on covered wagons, the brakes were built on the left, forcing the driver to sit on that same side and, consequently, to drive on the right so they could have a clear view of the road.
The funny bone exists in your body, but it’s not a bone at all! The funny bone is a part of the ulnar nerve located at the back of the elbow. If you accidentally bump this area it can cause a tingling sensation toward the front of your forearm.
This tingling or dull pain is caused by the ulnar nerve bumping up against the humerus, the long bone that starts at your elbow and goes up to your shoulder. Although it might feel weird, tapping your funny bone doesn’t do any damage to your elbow, arm, or ulnar nerve.