Feature Word: Cold Enough to Freeze the Balls off a Brass Monkey

Definition:

Really, really cold!

Description:

In the pirate days, the ships were all equipped with cannons. The cannon balls were places upon a holder that were called ‘Brass Monkeys’ Since the metal used to make the cannon balls were extremely different from the metal used to make the brass monkeys, on an extremely cold day, they would contract at different rates (Different metals react differently to temperature). The cannon balls would literally fall off the holder when the temperature drop to the extremes. Hence the term.

Source:

origin unknown

Sniper

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Definition:

Someone who can accurately shoot at enemies from long ranges utilizing stalking techniques.

Description:

The word originated from British hunters who were good enough to shoot at these rare small Aftrican birds called ‘snipe’. They were awarded the term ‘sniper’. Later, the military adopted the term.

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Scapegoat

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Definition:

someone who is punished for the errors of others

Description:

During Yom Kippur, the original tradition was to use two goats in the ritual. One goat, called the Lord’s Goat, was sacrificed, while the other goat, which the priest confessed all the sins of his people, was then set free into the wilderness.
The second was called the Escape Goat, which evolved into Scapegoat.
The term first appeared in the English translation of Tyndale’s Bible

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Raining cats and dogs

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Definition:

Hard downpour

Description:

Houses had thatched roofs–thick straw, piled high, with no wood underneath.

It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the dogs, cats and other small animals, mice, rats, and bugs lived in the roof.

During a large rainstorm, it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof–hence the saying

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Pork Barrel

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Definition:

government projects or appropriations yielding rich patronage benefits.

Description:

You might expect that the original pork barrels were barrels for storing pork — and you’re right. In the early 19th century, that’s exactly what ‘pork barrel’ meant.

But, the term was also used figuratively to mean ‘a supply of money’ or ‘one’s livelihood’ (a farmer, after all, could readily turn pork into cash).

When 20th-century legislators doled out appropriations that benefited their home districts, someone apparently made an association between the profit a farmer got from a barrel of pork and the benefits derived from certain state and federal projects. By 1909, ‘pork barrel’ was being used as a noun naming such government appropriations, and today the term is often used attributively in constructions such as ‘pork barrel politics’ or ‘pork barrel project.’

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Marshall

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Definition:

an officer of the highest rank in some military forces

Description:

A logical assumption is that ‘marshal’ is related to ‘martial,’ but the resemblance is purely coincidental. Although most French words are derived from Latin, a few result from the 3rd-century Germanic occupation of France, and the early French ‘mareschal’ is one such word. ‘Mareschal’ came from Old High German ‘marahscalc,’ formed by combining ‘marah’ (horse) and ‘scalc’ (servant). ‘Mareschal’ originally meant ‘horse servant,’ but by the time it was borrowed into Middle English in the 13th century, it described a French high royal official. English applied the word to a similar position, but it eventually came to have other meanings. By contrast, ‘martial’ derives from ‘Mars,’ the Latin name for the god of war, and is completely unrelated.

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