Page 3 - Language Facts

Ever wanted to learn how to say LOL or WTF in French?

The French have made their own equivalents of “LOL” and other Internet conversational acronyms. They include, but are not confined to:

  • MDR is the LOL equivalent in French, meaning “mort de rire”, or dying with laughter, roughly translated.
  • PTDR is a little stronger, akin to ROFL: “pété de rire”, or farting with laughter, roughly translated.
  • KCDR is the strongest, from “cassé de rire”, meaning broken with laughterKC = Kah-say = cassé.

The French also use the English acronyms “LOL” and “WTF” in their daily internet conversations. The English acronym system is that strong and that global.They do still have their own equivalents to “WTF”, too. They include but are not confined to:

  • TG is the vulgar way to tell somebody to stop talking (ta gueule – shut your mouth/gob/trap) (cf. STFU)
  • OSEF is the less vulgar way of saying the same thing – who cares, or “on s’en fout”.


The drug heroin got its name from the Greek word for hero.

"Heroin" is derived from the Greek “heros”, the same word that the words “hero” and “heroine” come from. The original Greek word referred to characters in Greek folklore who were demigods (half-god, half-human). It’s unknown why the Bayer company decided to name their drug this, though perhaps it comes from the drug's euphoric effect that can make its users feel superhuman.

When heroin was first produced by the Bayer Company in Germany in 1895 the drug was marketed as a safe, nonaddictive alternative to morphine. Free samples of heroin were offered to recovering morphine addicts. It turns out that heroin is actually even more potent than morphine. The sale of the drug was finally banned in the U.S. in 1923, and its possession and manufacture were banned in 1924.

PBS and both have interesting timelines cataloging the unusual history of heroin.

The name "gummy" bear comes from the German word for rubber. They were almost discontinued in WWII

Most people have had some sort of gummy candy in their lives. The first big gummy hit was the classic gummy bear, first invented by a German man named Hans Riegel, soon after founding Haribo. Hans called them Tanzbrs, meaning dancing bear. Another name for these were Gummibr, which means rubber bear, which is why we call them gummy bears.

These sugary treats were almost discontinued during WWII as ingrediants had been rationed and Hans Riegel died. His wife did her best to keep the company going, however, and when his two sons returned from being prisoners of war, they helped as well.

Eventually these bears made their way to America. They were imported for many years, but demand eventually grew enough for American-made gummy bears to hit the market. This wasn't until 1981, though.

The same year gummy worms were introduced by Trolli. These became some of the most popular gummy candies ever made, and were originally made with the idea of creating a candy for children that would slightly mortify parents.


Some awesome lists!

Winston Churchill was a stutterer. To overcome it, he would pre-empt every argument and practice all possible replies weeks ahead of time!

Stuttering is a speech impediment that is often worsened by stress. This sometimes makes it difficult for a person who stutters to confidently speak in public. Winston Churchill, who was a stutterer himself, was determined to find a solution for this problem.

Churchill was the leader of the Conservative Party in Britain and was known for his sharp wit. Churchill is well known and fondly remembered for his witty quotes like "there are two things that are more difficult than making an after-dinner speech: climbing a wall which is leaning toward you and kissing a girl who is leaning away from you."

He always seemed to have an answer to anything that was put to him and could express it fluently. But this did not come without a lot of extra effort.

He prepared his remarks weeks in advance and memorized them. He studied issues and prepared a speech. He would then write a response for every possible objection that could come from it, and learned them all by heart so that he would not stutter when responding. This made him sound more knowledgeable than other leaders.

He practiced his speeches, along with speech-building phrases like "the Spanish ships I cannot see since they are not in sight."


Isaac Asimov coined this everyday term without knowing it. He assumed it was already in use!

Isaac Asimov was a brilliant Russian-born American scientist and author. He wrote so abundantly that his resume includes writing or editing over 500 books and about 90,000 letters and postcards.

It's no surprise, then, that in all of that writing there would be occasions in which ordinary vocabulary would not do. The Oxford English Dictionary officially recognizes Asimov for coining the words "positronic" (a fictional technology) and "psychohistory," which deals with the psychology behind historical events.

So you've probably never heard of the former two, but certainly you've heard of robotics. That's right; Asimov also coined that word, but not purposely. He thought it already existed, just as the subjects of mechanics or hydraulics existed. In truth, he was the first, as far as can be determined, to use it. Unlike his other newly minted words, "robotics," is a highly useful term that continues to be widely applicable today.

Ironically, Asimov gained a reputation for writing in a very plain style, on which he prided himself. His aim was to communicate in a clear manner with his readers. As an author, that was more important to him than using a poetic or symbolic style, to the chagrin of his high-minded critics.



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