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Origin of popular expressions (part 2/3) 5. In ancient England, a person could not have sex unless you had consent of the King (unless you were in the Royal Family). When anyone wanted to have a baby, they got consent of the King, the King gave them a placard that they hung on their door while they were having sex. The placard had F.*.*.*. (Fornication Under Consent of the King) on it. Now you know where the "F" word came from.

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   Origin of popular expressions (part 2/3)

Correction! In April, 2004, Cory very kindly sent me the URL to a site that explains why the above is incorrect. I recommend everyone check it out for themselves. The URL is: http://www.snopes.com/language/acronyms/fuck.htm. The upshot is that acronyms did not appear until recently so that the explanation above could not be true.

6. In Scotland, a new game was invented. It was entitled Gentlemen Only - Ladies Forbidden... and thus the word GOLF entered into the English language.

CORRECTION: Mr. Oldani explained that Golf was not an acronym but a simple respelling of the the game's original name: gauf. In light of the revelation about acronyms in #5 and that GOLF would be an acronym, this carries some weight.


7. Around 1900 in London, the first panda bear was placed on display. It's cute teddy-bear appearance and entertaining antics were so enchanting to the British that enormous crowds spent hours jostling to get a glimpse of them. Hence the expression: pandemonium.

CORRECTION: Shonni very kindly sent me an email explaining that the true source for this word comes from John Milton's 1667 epic Paradise Lost in which he coins the term "pandeamonium" for the name of the capital of hell.

I looked into this and determined that there is merit in this claim, as well as the original explanation above.

During the 1800s the word pandeamonium evolved from referring to just the capitol of hell to an adjective describing any place of vice a depravity. Then, sometime very early in the 1900s it changed again to mean any great uproar, which can have positive connotations. The spelling was also simplified to pandemonium.

I believe what happened is that some enterprising newspaper report who was familiar with the older term, recoined it to describe the uproar surrounding the panda bear incident. The similarity of the sounds of panda and the similarly pronounced pandeamonium was too close to have been missed.



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