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Say What? Origins of Popular Expressions

It is interesting to dig back and see when common expressions originated. Not only when, but to understand the underlying meaning. Sometimes, we apply them improperly. Here are bunch to set you straight and use in the right context. Oh, and you will learn what, “Nuke the Fridge”, means.

The Acid Test: to prove something is real.

During the California Gold Rush, prospectors and dealers used acid to distinguish gold from base metal. If the metal dissolved in a mixture of hydrochloric acid and nitric acid, it was the real thing.

A Baker’s Dozen: one more over 12, or 13 in total.

Medieval English bakers gave an extra loaf when selling a dozen to avoid being penalized for selling a short weight. Bakers could be fined, pilloried or even flogged for selling ‘underweight’ bread.

Bite The Bullet: to make a difficult decision or one long put-off.

During early battles there was no time to administer anesthetics while performing surgeries. So, patients were made to bite down on bullets to distract from the pain.

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Yogababble: The Spiritual Disguising of Brands

Language is fascinating. Written, spoken and designed communications are my trade, so my senses perk up when I happen across something new. That occurred while listening to one of Wondery’s entertaining and informative podcast series. WeCrashed covers the rise and fall of WeWork and its faux messiah leader, CEO Adam Neuman. 

On a side note, Wondery produced the insanely popular, Dirty John, among other titles. Its growing library and model of partnering to develop content, made it attractive to Amazon. The giant company paid US$300 million for Wondery on December 30, 2020.

One word hooked me through the WeCrashed series. It was, yogababble. According to Urban Dictionary, it means, “Spiritual-sounding language used by companies to sell product or make their brand more compelling on an emotional level. Coined specifically about WeWork’s IPO prospectus in 2019, which was full of phrases like “elevate the world’s consciousness” and at the same time showed problematic financials. Yogababble is intended to disguise or compensate for practical or financial weaknesses in a business or product.”

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