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Where'd it come from? #47

Created date

September 24th, 2012

Piggy bank

Anyone who s ever saved a penny or two has probably done so in a piggy bank at some point in time. Still, the tradition didn t start with that loveable snout-nosed animal smiling back at you with a belly full of coins. In fact, the name piggy bank actually comes from pygg jars clay containers used for storage years ago. Though the term pygg fell out of use, somebody along the way decided that the idea of a pygg jar worked better as a piggy bank ; a container all the same but far more endearing. If you put a few quarters a day in your piggy bank, you ll be able to buy that new bike in no time.


Hornswoggle is one of those words that s just plain fun to say, its meaning is no secret. If you ve been hornswoggled, you ve been duped, beguiled, conned, swindled, and a host of other slang terms for ripped off. Its origin, however, is not so cut and dried. In fact, no one really knows where it comes from, though some suspect it may have originated amongst the nation s cowboys. The theory is that when a steer, in the process of being roped, thrashed and twisted its head enough to break free of the lasso, the cowboy was hornswoggled. Though a nice story, it s only conjecture. At least this playful piece of slang has a meaning, though. We ll have to be satisfied with that. I spent $30 at the dunking booth trying to win a prize and got nothing. I think I ve been hornswoggled.

Starboard (Side)

If you re looking over the starboard side of a ship, you re looking to the right. But the term itself has nothing to do with the stars. Early Teutonic sailing vessels (the Teuton s were an ancient people probably related to the Celts or Germans) were steered using a rudder-like paddle over the right side of the ship. The Old-English word for this steering side was steorbord, which over time evolved into starboard. We looked over the starboard side of the ship and saw a whale.

Port (Side)

This term is much clearer in its meaning than starboard and probably originated in the mid 1500s. The port side of a ship was most likely that side typically facing the port or shore and remains so today. As the storm blew in, our ship began to list to port.