5
votes
2answers
656 views

Why are the notes or protocol of a meeting referred to as its 'minutes'?

A minute is 60 seconds. Something 'minute' is small, minor, perhaps short. Now, what about the minutes of a meeting or a session? As in, its written protocol? Are they called that because: The ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

Why “half past” and not “half to”?

When telling time and 30 minutes has gone past an hour, we say “half past”. For instance, half past 4 or half past 5. Why can’t we also say “half to”. For instance, half to 5 or half to 6? Shouldn’t ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

What's the origin of the idiom “don't give it the time of day”?

Twice in the past few hours, I've seen the idiom "don't give it the time of day". Now, I immediately knew and understood what the people using the phrase meant, but then I realized that I didn't know ...
12
votes
3answers
804 views

Why is “Saturday” Romanic?

Sunday and Monday are named after the sun and moon (English < Germanic), and Tuesday through Friday are named after Anglo-Saxon/Germanic gods. This seems consistent enough so far, but then we come ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

How did “next day” come to mean “day of next week”?

This question touched on the confusion of the common usage of "next Tuesday" to really mean "Tuesday of next week", as opposed to the "soonest upcoming Tuesday". When one considers the actual ...
10
votes
4answers
491 views

What exactly is “noonday night”?

In answering the question Is there a term for “midnight” that is like “noon”, I came across the phrase noonday night listed as a synonym for midnight in my copy of Roget's International ...
2
votes
3answers
305 views

What is the origin of the term “in forever”?

Is it acceptable to use the term "in forever" when referring to a length of time, even though it is illogical? For example, "Ohmigosh, I haven't seen you in forever!" Or is this term one that we ...