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Cool things I didn’t know – 2

February 4, 2016
7. Q: Why are people in the public eye said to be ‘in the limelight’?
A: Invented in 1825, limelight was used in lighthouses and stage lighting by burning a cylinder of lime which produced a brilliant light. In the theatre, performers on stage ‘in the limelight’ were seen by the audience to be the center of attention.
8. Q: Why do ships and aircraft in trouble use ‘mayday’ as their call for help?
A: This comes from the French word m’aidez – meaning ‘help me’ and is pronounced ‘mayday.’
9. Q: Why is someone who is feeling great ‘on cloud nine’?
A: Types of clouds are numbered according to the altitudes they attain, with nine being the highest cloud. If someone is said to be on cloud nine, that person is floating well above worldly cares.
10. Q: Why are zero scores in tennis called ‘love’?
A: In France , where tennis first became popular, a big, round zero on the scoreboard looked like an egg and was called ‘l’oeuf,’ which is French for ‘egg.’ When tennis was introduced in the US , Americans pronounced it ‘love.’
11. Q: In golf, where did the term ‘Caddie’ come from?
A. When Mary, later Queen of Scots, went to France as a young girl (for education & survival), Louis, King of France, learned that she loved the Scot game ‘golf.’ So he had the first golf course outside of Scotland built for her enjoyment. To make sure she was properly chaperoned (and guarded) while she played, Louis hired cadets from a military school to accompany her. Mary liked this a lot and when she returned to Scotland (not a very good idea in the long run), she took the practice with her. In French, the word cadet is pronounced ‘ca-day’ and the Scots changed it into ‘caddie.’
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