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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.
Early beds were made with a wooden frame. Ropes were tied across the frame
in a criss-cross pattern. A straw mattress was then put on top of the ropes. Over
time the ropes stretched, causing the bed to sag. The owner would then tighten
the ropes to get a better night's sleep.
These were floating theaters built on a barge that was pushed by a steamboat.
These played small town along the Mississippi River. Unlike the boat shown in
the movie "Showboat" these did not have an engine. They were gaudy and
attention grabbing which is why we say someone who is being the life of the
party is "showboating".
OVER A BARREL
In the days before CPR a drowning victim would be placed face down over a
barrel and the barrel would be rolled back and forth in a effort to empty the
lungs of water. It was rarely effective. If you are over a barrel you are in deep
Heavy freight was moved along the Mississippi in large barges pushed by
steamboats. These were hard to control and would sometimes swing into piers
or other boats. People would say they "barged in".
Steamboats carried both people and animals. Since pigs smelled so bad they
would be washed before being put on board. The mud and other filth that was
washed off was considered useless "hog wash".
The word "curfew" comes from the French phrase "couvre-feu", which means
"cover the fire". It was used to describe the time of blowing out all lamps and
candles. It was later adopted into Middle English as "curfeu", which later became
the modern "curfew". In the early American colonies homes had no real
fireplaces so a fire was built in the center of the room. In order to make sure a
fire did not get out of control during the night it was required that, by an agreed
upon time, all fires would be covered with a clay pot called-a "curfew".
BARRELS OF OIL
When the first oil wells were drilled they had made no provision for storing the
liquid so they used water barrels. That is why, to this day, we speak of barrels of
oil rather than gallons.
HOT OFF THE PRESS
As the paper goes through the rotary printing press friction causes it to heat up.
Therefore, if you grab the paper right off the press it’s hot. The expression
means to get immediate information.