17
votes
5answers
969 views

Tom, Jake and Jenny aren't looking forward to Thanksgiving. Why?

And "Hen" (their mother) isn't much looking forward to it either. Why? I can answer that question myself, it's because they're all turkeys. Tom is an adult male turkey (also often referred to as a ...
2
votes
1answer
197 views

Zucchini in Australia and courgette in New Zealand! Why?

I can probably understand why the plant is called zucchini in the US and courgette in the UK- could be traced to the proximity of the UK to France but how come it's got two different names in ...
4
votes
2answers
3k views

When did “World War 2” start being called “World War 2”?

When did World War 2 start being called a "world war" and when did it start being called World War 2? Thurber's The Last Flower (copyright 1939) makes reference to World War 12 so I'm curious as to ...
1
vote
1answer
114 views

What does one call terms like “astroturfing”?

Astroturfing is a word used to describe a fake or counterfeit grassroots campaign. The clever term is derived from the notion that one kind of fake grass is astroturf. Another more niche example is ...
6
votes
1answer
852 views

Why are bacteria referred to using botanic terms (flora, blooming)?

I've seen a lot of information lately about intestinal flora or gut flora but I was under the impression that flora refers exclusively to plant life. So how did bacteria come to be called flora? I ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

Meaning and etymology of the “ite” and “ine/ene” endings of mineral names

I’ve noticed that a very large proportion of the names of mineral species and mineral groups end in -ite and (less commonly,) -ine or -ene. Here are some examples off the top of my head: -ite: ...
5
votes
3answers
571 views

Why are not all grains called “grains”?

In most languages, the word used for a single caryopsis seed is a good equivalent of grain — it is not only the translation for this kind of seeds, but also the translation for other meanings of the ...
7
votes
1answer
584 views

What is the origin of “kiwifruit”?

What is the origin of kiwifruit? Is there any relation between the fruit and New Zealand?