The word Mortgage is a French Law term meaning “death pledge”. It doesn’t refer to the person (like a pledge to pay until death) or anything sinister like that. It refers to the fact that the deal “dies” either when payments cease or the principle is paid.
The name Panos is a common Greek name, but it will make any Russian chuckle when they hear it. “Panos” is Russian for diarrhea.
The word “nice” used to mean “foolish, stupid, senseless,” and comes from the Latin “nescire”, meaning “to be ignorant.”
Redundant phrases such as “ATM Machine” and “PIN Number” are examples of RAS Syndrome – Redundant Acronym Syndrome Syndrome.
Russians have a word “Zapoi” to describe several days of continuous drunkenness during which one withdraws from society.
J.R.R. Tolkien created the words “dwarvish” and “dwarves”, countering the spelling at the time of the books publication which was “dwarfish” and “dwarfs”, and many dictionaries now consider this the proper way to spell the words.
The word “impossible” dropped in use by 50% over the course of the 20th century.
The German word Backpfeifengesicht – a face that cries out for a fist in it.
In ancient Rome, the architectural feature called a “vomitorium” was the entrance way through which crowds entered and exited a stadium. The Latin word vomitorium derives from the verb vomitum which means “to spew forth”.
In 1993 a Scotsman was asked to confirm to the court that he was the person summoned. He replied “aye”, but was then told he had to answer yes or no. He replied “aye” again and was imprisoned for 90 minutes for contempt of court. On his release he said “I genuinely thought I was answering him”.