Word and Phrase Origins

Includes questions related to the origins and etymology of English words and phrases.

28,108 Questions
Word and Phrase Origins
Masters Golf Tournament

How much does it cost to play 18 holes at Augusta National Golf Club?

Augusta National Golf Club is an exclusive golf course in Augusta, Georgia and the site of the annual Masters Tournament in April. You cannot play Augusta as a walk-on; you must be invited as a guest of one of the club's members.

Augusta National Golf Club has never disclosed the membership cost, but it is believed the initiation fee is between $10,000 and $30,000 with yearly dues costing between $3,000 and $10,000. Dining and lodging and other services are additional costs. Although it is an exclusive club, Augusta can keep its costs down due to the amount of money they make from hosting the Masters.

There are around 300 members of Augusta. There is no application for membership, it is strictly invitation only.When a spot opens, the club collectively decides who to invite and mails the invitation. All members are given the iconic green blazer.Augusta has drawn criticism in the past for not allowing black members until 1990 and female members until 2012.

If you ever get a chance to attend a practice round, or competitive round, at the Masters - do it, it is an experience you will never forget. In the meantime you'll have to enjoy watching the Masters.

Word and Phrase Origins

What does 'Erin go braugh' mean?

Erin go bragh is an English phonetic spelling of Éirinn go brách, which in Irish means "Ireland forever."

It is an Irish expression of allegiance to Ireland.

Word and Phrase Origins
Glue and Adhesives

What is the meaning of the idiom 'sent to the glue factory'?

Basically it means something that's no longer any use. In past times, old horses (nags) were slaughtered, and their carcases sent to the glue factory, as that's all they were deemed good for.

Word and Phrase Origins

Who coined the phrase repetition is the father of learning?

Actually, some versions say "repetition is the mother of learning"-- one of the oldest comes from the ancient Latin: Repetitio est mater studiorum. This translates as "Repetition is the mother of studies." But in modern times, there are a number of versions that use the father, rather than the mother, such as in a song by Lil Wayne, in which he says "repetition is the father of learning."

Word and Phrase Origins

Why is Month called a month?

The word 'month' is a noun, a word for any of the twelve divisions of a calendar year; a word for a thing.

The noun 'month' is a common noun because it is a general word for any month of the year.

A common noun is capitalized only when it is the first word in a sentence.

First invented and used in Mesopotamia, it is a natural period related to the motion of the moon. Month and moon have the same common origins.

Family Guy
Word and Phrase Origins

What does Marketable skills mean?

skills talents, and training you have that can be used to make money.

Example: I never thought that knowing Photoshop could be a marketable skill, but now I am a famous artist. *

*above fore-mentioned example is strictly for word use only, knowing photoshop does not actually make you an artist.

Word and Phrase Origins

What is the origin of the word chalet?

The earliest use of the word chalet in English was in 1782.

It was derived from the Swiss (and French) chalet, which meant "herdsman's hut, Alpine cottage". This was probably a diminutive of the Old French chasel, "farmhouse, house, abode, hut".

The origins before Old French are even more tenuous, but chalet is attributed to the Vulgar Latin casalis"belonging to a house", from the Latin casa, "house", or the Old Provincial cala, "a small shelter for ships.

Politics and Government
Word and Phrase Origins
Accents and Dialects

What is the meaning of 'Faith and begorrah'?

'Faith and begorrah' means "sure and by God". This is in the dialect of English called Hiberno-English, not in Irish Gaelic, although there are several features of this dialect owing to the Gaelic.

Word and Phrase Origins

Is the word mosquito of Spanish origin?

Yes. "Mosca" is the Spanish word for "fly". The diminutive form of this is "mosquito", or "little fly".

Word and Phrase Origins

Where did the term nervous nellie come from?

Ever heard the phrase, "Whoa, Nellie"? Nell, or Nellie, was an late 19th to early 20th century nickname for a female horse. It was particularly applied to one hitched to a wagon or buggy, probably because those mares were either the only one owned by the household or were the horse most tamed for the harness. Remember, this was the world before and on the cusp of the automobile. A horse was very important for transportation. Being close to the family, much like a pet, the horse would tend to be called by a name; a common name for a mare was Nell, or at least it was common enough that if you referred to a mare, you might use the term Nell. Horses can be jumpy or anxious in novel or quickly changing situations, a characteristic of the crowding of small towns and cities during this era. The horse could always be surprised or frightened by something around the next corner, or the ever changing activity around them. Hence the term Nervous Nellie came to be applied to a horse when it became jumpy in these situations.

Word and Phrase Origins

What is vivacious?

Energetic. 17th Century: from Latin vīvax lively.

Word and Phrase Origins

What is the origin of the word ketchup?

The words "ketchup" and "catsup" both come from the Malay word "kechap," from the Chinese word "ketsiap," a sauce made from fermented fish and brine. Pickled fish sauce may not sound all that appealing on french fries, but the Malay word "kechap" itself really only meant "taste." After the word migrated into English in the 17th century (as "catchup," still an accepted spelling), it was applied to a variety of sauces and condiments. It was only with the importation of the tomato to Europe from its native habitat in South America that what we now know as ketchup was born. Modern ketchup is made of tomato sauce, vinegar, sugar and spices


It originates from Cantonese.

From k'e chapwhich means, "tomato juice."
The origin of the word ketchup is from the greek word "ket" meaning red

It comes from the Indish 'katyup' for a spicy sauce

Ketchup is an English word. It may derive from a word in the Malayan language kechap, a sauce of fish origin. A Chinese word koe-chiap, also a fish based sauce, may be the earliest origin.

Word and Phrase Origins
History and Origins of Foods

Where did the sandwich come from?

The Earl of Sandwich invented the sandwich in England in 1762. However, there's some disagreement involved with this widely accepted fact.

Conditions and Diseases
Word and Phrase Origins

Who discovered the word disease?

It is a 14th Century French word, meaning 'without ease' or 'discomfort'

English Language
Word and Phrase Origins

The phrase diurnal motion refers to the?

gradual motion of the constellations from east to west across the sky each night, resulting in different constellations being visible at 4 A.M. than at 10 P.M. on any given night.

Word and Phrase Origins

Is the pledge of allegiance a proper noun?

Yes, the Pledge of Allegiance is a proper noun because it's a title. It should be capitalized.

Word and Phrase Origins

Where did the phrase jackpot come from?

tho it was used to mean any big prize by 1944 it came from a late 19th century poker variant in which the ante increased for each new hand when no player was dealt a pair of jacks or better & thus there could result quite a substantial pot

Word and Phrase Origins

What is the etymology of lunar?

The official name of our own moon is Luna.

It comes into modern language from Middle English, meaning crescent-shaped. It was adopted there from the Old French word lunaire, and from from Latin lūnāris, meaning of the moon, from lūna, moon

Domestic Dogs
Word and Phrase Origins

What is the meaning of the phrase Puppy dog eyes?

Sad begging eyes.

Word and Phrase Origins

Where does the word architect come from?


1563, from M.Fr. architecte, from L. architectus, from Gk. arkhitekton "master builder," from arkhi- "chief" (see archon) + tekton "builder, carpenter". Architecture also is from 1563.

Source: Online Etymology

Parenting and Children
Word and Phrase Origins
Manners and Etiquette

What is the meaning of 'You are grounded' when someone does something wrong?

"You are grounded" is a fairly common punishment for kids. It refers to being unable to leave the house except to go to school or family activities. No going to parties, sporting events and the like. In some places it also means no telephone calls. The intent is to restrict social interaction, which may have been the cause of the grounding in the first place. In today's society it is less effective due to cell phones and internet access.

English Language
Word and Phrase Origins

What does the phrase safe harbor mean?

It means people won't mess with you in that specified location.

In a legal sense, it refers to a situation where you are immune from liability. For example, if you withhold taxes from your paycheck equal to what you owed last year, then you are in a "safe harbor" from estimated tax penalties, even if you underpay.

Idioms, Cliches, and Slang
Word and Phrase Origins

What does ride like the wind mean?

Ride really fast so wind will blow in your face.

Don't know the orgin, but it infers riding a horse, bicycle or motorcycle.

In another interpretation it means, ride really fast, make haste, ride quickly. In other words travel quickly to your destination.

Word and Phrase Origins

Who first said the phrase it is what it is?

Erich Fried (6 May 1921 - 22 November 1988), an Austrian poet that settled in England, known for his political-minded poetry. Erich was also a broadcaster, translator and essayist, and wrote Es ist was es ist (It is what it is), in 1983.

This is the first use of it I can find. However, Plato is also known for this qoute, though I do not think it applies:

"This City is what it is because our citizens are what they are."

Word and Phrase Origins

What is the origin of the word 'vegetable'?

15th century: late Middle English: from Old French, or from late Latin vegetabilis 'animating,' from Latin vegetare,from vegēre 'to enliven'.


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