Feature Word: Getting Down to Brass Tacks

Definition:

clearing out confusing details and finding out the real facts about something.

Description:

Originated from textile industry.
In early American times, women would buy fabrics in large quantities. Merchants would try to cheat them by reeling the fabric out fast.
The merchants would have brass tacks on the table to indicate a yard. If they reel the fabrics out fast enough, they would be able to cheat a little.
The women buying the fabric realized what they were doing, and would exclaim, ‘You need to get down to brass tacks!’

Source:

origin unknown

Ketchup

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Definition:

or “catsup”:

1) a condiment, usually made from tomatoes, which tastes sweet with a bit of a “bite” (usually from the vinegar component)

2) the (American) spouse of french fries

Description:

The etymology of ketchup actually has several competing theories, namely: the Chinese theory, the “eggplant sauce” theory, the Malay theory, and the European-Arabic theory. The Chinese theory seems pretty strong, we must admit…

In the Chinese theory, it stems from either “kôe-chiap” or “kê-chiap”, both from the Amoy dialect, where it means “the brine of pickled fish or shellfish.”

 

 

from http://masterblog.front.lv/category/fun/

As for the “eggplant sauce” theory, “ketchup” derives from a Chinese word composed of two characters (茄汁), which means “eggplant sauce”. The first character (), meaning “eggplant”, is also the root for the word “tomato” and the second character () means “juice” or “sauce.”

The Malay theory states that the English word originates from the Malay word kicap (or, kecapketjap), which translates to “fish sauce” – which is borrowed from the Chinese, anyway…

European-Arabic Theory:  E.N. Anderson, an American anthropologist, claimed that ketchup comes from the French escaveche, meaning “food in sauce”  (imagine… French ketchup!) while culinary historian Karen Hess traced it back to Arabic iskebey, or “pickling with vinegar”.

 

 

Blue Label Ketchup 1898, from wiki article

 

 

 

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Getting Down to Brass Tacks

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Definition:

clearing out confusing details and finding out the real facts about something.

Description:

Originated from textile industry.
In early American times, women would buy fabrics in large quantities. Merchants would try to cheat them by reeling the fabric out fast.
The merchants would have brass tacks on the table to indicate a yard. If they reel the fabrics out fast enough, they would be able to cheat a little.
The women buying the fabric realized what they were doing, and would exclaim, ‘You need to get down to brass tacks!’

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