Monday, June 09, 2008

10 things I didn't know until last week

1. The Swiss Army Knife’s original name was ‘Offiziersmesser.’ US soldiers who couldn’t pronounce that gave it its current name.
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2. Canary Islands don’t get their name from the canary birds. Canary Islands are actually named after dogs - getting their name from the latin ‘Insula Canaria’, meaning ‘Islands of the Dogs.’ Canary birds are actually named after the islands.
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3. The Spanish city of Granada gets its name from the pomegranate, literally ‘Granada’ in Spanish.
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4. The original name given of The Taj Mahal as given by Shah Jahan was Rauza-i-Munavvara - ‘The Illumined Tomb.’ The name Taj Mahal was given to it later, probably by a Englishman.
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5. Philately - the hobby of stamp collecting - was initially named ‘timbromania’ (‘stamp madness’ in French.)
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6. A capitonym is a word that changes pronounciation and meaning when it is capilatised. Examples can be found in the following poem entitled ‘Job’s Job’ : In August, an august patriarch/Was reading an ad in Reading, Mass./Long-suffering Job secured a job/To polish piles of Polish brass.
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7. Originally, a cobbler was one who repairs shoes. Those who actually make footwear were known as “cordwainers.” That distinction however has gradually eroded.
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8. Lethologica is the disorder that causes the person afflicted to forget the very word he/she wants to use at the moment. It’s derived from Greek ‘letho’ (forgetfulness) and ‘logos’ (word). In Greek mythology, Lethe was one of the five rivers in Hades. Its water caused forgetfulness in those who drank it.
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9. Wrangell-St.Elias National Park in Southern Alaska - and not Yellowstone - is the largest national park in the United States.
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10. The first public anti-smoking campaign in modern history was initiated in Nazi Germany.
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