I Never Knew That!!!
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
"A Shot Of Whiskey"
In the old West a .45 cartridge for a six-gun cost 12 cents, so did a glass of whiskey. If a cowhand was low on cash he would often give the bartender a cartridge in exchange for a drink. This became known as a "shot" of whiskey.
"The Whole Nine Yards"
American fighter planes in WW2 had machine guns that were fed by a belt of cartridges. The average plane held belts that were 27 feet (9 yards) long. If the pilot used up all his ammo he was said to have given it the whole nine yards.
"Buying The Farm"
This is synonymous with dying. During WW1 soldiers were given life insurance policies worth $5000. This was about the price of an average farm, so if you died, you "bought the farm" for your survivors.
"Iron Clad Contract"
This came about from the ironclad ships of the Civil War. It meant something so strong it could not be broken.
"Passing The Buck/The buck Stops Here"
Most men in the early west carried a jack knife made by the Buck Knife Company. When playing poker, it was common to place one of these Buck knives in front of the dealer so that everyone knew who he was. When it was time for a new dealer the deck of cards and the knife were given to the new dealer. If this person didn't want to deal he would "Pass the Buck" to the next player. If that player accepted then "The Buck stopped there."
The Mississippi River was the main way of traveling from north to south. Riverboats carried passengers and freight but they were expensive so most people used rafts. Everything had the right of way over rafts which were considered cheap. The steering oar on the rafts was called a "Riff" and this transposed into Riff-Raff, meaning low class.
The Old English word for "Spider" was "cob".
"Ship State Rooms"
Traveling by steamboat was considered the height of comfort. Passenger cabins on the boats were not numbered. Instead, they were named after states. To this day cabins on ships are called staterooms.