Staring at a crane the other day (construction site type, not the feathered) I noticed the wind speed gauge spinning its little heart out and wondered what they were called. Surely they had to have a better name than “wind speed gauge”… Apparently, I was admiring an anemometer, which is a word comprised of a bit of Greek and a bit of English.
Anemos means wind and a meter is a measuring device, but the cool thing is that they’ve been around for a quite a while. Long before air travel and kangaroo cranes required them!
My best word-nerdish score though in looking up anemometers was that the cranes I’ve been staring at that have them attached are called “luffing” cranes. Luffing. Isn’t that a great word? It too is to do with the wind, but comes from – of all places – sailing ships! Possibly not so surprising considering just how many words come from ships.
My favourite wind measuring thing though is a wind sock. As cool as anemometers are, you just can’t go past a wind sock for simplicity and amusement. Because they’re are basically a sock on a stick. *giggles*
What’s the fastest fish in the world?
A motor pike.
(Just be grateful I didn’t save all the jokes from the xmas crackers this year! I promise this is the last one.)
A pilot’s favourite flavour of potato chip is…
Did you know that the little dot on your i and j are tittles? Nor did I! But I was about to write the phrase “don’t care a jot for them” when struck by the realisation I had no idea what a jot was. Obviously it was small. Turns out it’s small like a tittle… in fact they’re both old printer’s terms, but they both mean roughly the same thing; the smallest mark.
Incidentally this is why we jot things down (on a jotter of course!) because it’s the smallest of notes. Or something close to that idea.
But wait, there’s more!
Turns out that jot comes into English in the late 15C from the Greek word iota. So whether you don’t “care a jot” or “one iota” it’s the same tiny amount.
Turn over a new reef.
(So, so good. Another xmas cracker, cracker!)
How do you keep cool at a football match?
Stand next to a fan.
(Aaah, the deliciously bad jokes that come in xmas crackers! I make no apologies.)
I find rhyming slang both delightful and a bit weird. It appeals to my wordy self, but so often it gets further changed so that the rhyme gets lost and you have no idea what it means. Which brings me to Tod, Jack and Pat.
You might have heard some one say “she was sitting on her tod”, because Tod, Jack and Pat are all rhyming slang for being on your own/alone. Except that doesn’t make much sense unless you have the surnames; Jack Jones, Tod Sloan and Pat Malone!
I’ll admit I’d always thought ‘tod’ meant ‘bum’ until I came across a song lyric about sitting over there on your Jack Jones!