1
vote
4answers
1k views

What is the origin and meaning of “racing to a red light”?

During the third episode of the HBO show "True Detective" the following dialogue is exchanged: Cop 1: "Certain linguist anthropologists think that religion is a language virus that rewrites ...
2
votes
3answers
160 views

What is the origin of the phrase “racing cert”?

I had encountered the phrase, “racing cert”, the other day, and I had to go look it up. The only definition I immediately found was one from UD: English colloquialism. Born from gambling talk and ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

Origin of the term “wizard” in computing

In computer user interfaces a "wizard" is a set of screens that guide the user through a process. Does anyone know the origin of this term? I personally associate wizards with magic more than a ...
4
votes
1answer
788 views

Origin of “hike” in American football

Both Wikipedia and TheFreeDictionary list the term hike as an alternative term for snapping the football at the beginning of play. Where does it come from?
7
votes
2answers
848 views

Etymology of “binky” — three questions

Definition 2 of binky at wiktionary is "(rabbit behavior) A high hop that a rabbit may perform when happy." This definition is consistent with that at rabbitspeak, and not inconsistent with "A kind ...
4
votes
2answers
4k views

Why do people use “mayday” and not “help”? [closed]

I’m not native English speaker, so I wonder why forces like policemen and firemen and such use Mayday instead of the simpler Help. What is origin of this habit?
12
votes
3answers
993 views

How did the word “lid” come to mean “poor operator” (in the context of telegraphy and amateur radio)?

This sense of lid is still common today in Amateur ("Ham") Radio (in the United States, at least), usually as "they're a lid", meaning "they're being a rude or unobservant person." It doesn't refer to ...
25
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the origin of “daemon” with regards to computing?

Daemon has an interesting usage in computing. From my local dictionary: a background process that handles requests for services such as print spooling and file transfers, and is dormant when not ...
1
vote
5answers
4k views

Origin of “let's take it offline”

When did people start using the corporate jargon "let's take it offline" (let's discuss that after this meeting in private)? According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the origin of online is from ...
6
votes
2answers
447 views

Etymology of “regression”

What is the etymology of "regression" as in finding the coefficients of polynomials?
11
votes
3answers
3k views

Why “motherboard” is used to refer to main board of computer

Why is motherboard used to refer to the main board of a computer? What is the relationship with the word mother here?
3
votes
5answers
555 views

What’s the etymology of the word “unstable”, in the context of software?

Approximately when in the history of computing did unstable come to be commonly used to refer to computer software? Can this time in history be linked to the release of a certain product (no jokes ...
0
votes
2answers
579 views

Why did ‘off-the-shelf' come to mean ‘in stock, ready-made, and easily available’?

I came across the word “off-the-shelf” in the following sentence of Time magazine’s article “The 50 Best Inventions of the Years (Nov.11 issue). He (inventor of the first synthetic cell) started with ...