Word histories

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Words, like man, have their histories. They leave indelible footprints as they meander along the flow of time.
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Do you know how the word 'porcelain' came about? In the 14th century, when British first encountered Chinese pottery, they were fascinated. What could be made into such exquisite vessels? Pig bones? They must have been made from pig bones. With such logic, it's no wonder that pork and porcelain share the same initial syllable.

Why do we cross our fingers for good luck? Any ideas? During the dark ages, Christians were persecuted by Romans and had no way of recognising comrades of likewise faith. They, by sheer necessity, developed a subtle sign language. Yes, you've guessed it right - they crossed their fingers. Crosses, after all, are emblematic of the Christian faith. Over time, crossing fingers became synonymous with favorable fortunes.

And why do we say "bless you"s when people sneeze. Long ago, people believed that their souls leave the bodies as they sneezed. To prevent evil spirits from occupying the empty shells, they said, "bless you."

Milestones - significant moments in life - are used metaphorically nowadays. In the past, they were literal signposts marking intervals of one-miles.
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Many words have fascinating histories waiting for us to uncover. May the discovery of such etymology bring you great joy.

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