Word nerds assemble!
“Shit” is one of our oldest words, and used to mean “cattle diarrhoea”.
The chess term “checkmate” comes from a 14th century Arabic phrase, “shah mat”, which means “the king is helpless”.
English is the official language of the skies, and all pilots, regardless of their country of origin, identify themselves in English on international flights.
English is the third most commonly spoken language in the world (the first and second are Mandarin Chinese and Spanish).
English is mainly a mix of Old High German, Old Norse, and Anglo-Norman. We only started speaking recognisable Modern English in the 14th Century.
The game of marbles gave us the phrase “knuckle down” (placing your knuckles on the floor lined up a better shot).
“Juke” as in “jukebox” may be derived from a West African word for “disorderly” or a Scots word for “dance”.
“Almost” is one of the longest English words to have all its letters in alphabetical order.
Most English grammar and spelling follow the standardised rules set out in Dr Johnson’s Dictionary, which was published in 1755.
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