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Where'd that phrase come from #55

Created date

June 14th, 2013

Cup of Joe

When Secretary of the Navy Josephus Joe Daniels issued General Order No. 99 in June 1914, he instantly rose to the rank of most unpopular man in the U.S. Navy. The order banned the consumption of alcoholic beverages aboard Navy ships, thus depriving sailors of the age-old privilege of a grog ration. In place of rum, they had coffee a beverage that earned the derisive moniker, Cup of Joe, in honor of Daniels. Every morning, I need a cup of Joe to get me going.

Room and board

While most everyone understands that room and board refers to the exchange of money for lodgings, on second glance, the word board is less clear. Originally, when you paid for room and board, you not only received your room, but also a place at a wooden board, which your hosts laid out as a makeshift dining table. The board in room and board implied that meals came along with a place to stay. Part of my college tuition covered room and board off campus.

Carte blanche

Allowing someonecarte blanchein modern parlance means that you re giving them free rein to do what they want. First used in the early 18thcentury, its literal meaning in French and the basis for its modern usage draw from the image of a blank piece of paper, on which you can write or draw anything you choose. When we remodeled our home, I gave my wifecarte blancheon decorating.

Tall tale

Today, we use tall tale quite simply in reference to lies, but the origin of the phrase has more innocent roots in American folklore. For instance, campfire storytellers loved fashioning mythic, larger-than-life characters like Paul Bunyan, known for their extraordinary size, strength, and feats. Stories about such heroic figures were literally tall tales, and, of course, all untrue; hence, our use of the phrase today. He was an expert in his field, but on other matters, he was given to telling tall tales.