Why Do Many Historic Buildings in The UK Have Bricked Up Windows?…!!!

There was a time in Great Britain when having windows in homes and buildings were prohibitively expensive.

That time began in 1696 with the introduction of the much-despised window tax, that levied tax on property owners based on the number of windows or window-like openings the property had. The details of the tax kept changing with time, but the basic premise was that the more windows the house had, the more tax the owner had to pay.

In the eyes of the legislature the window tax was a brilliant way to put the burden of tax on the shoulder of the upper class. The rich usually had larger houses with more windows, and so were liable to pay more taxes. Poor people, on the other hand, lived in smaller houses and so paid less. To make the system even more attractive to the poorer class, those houses with fewer than ten windows were exempted from the window tax altogether.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A building with bricked up windows in Bath. Photo credit: Jo Folkes/Flickr

But the tax was not nearly as progressive as it first seemed. In towns and cities, many poor families lived in large tenement buildings with many windows, and were therefore subject to heavy window tax assessments. The tax was paid by the landlord but the costs of the window tax were passed on to the residents in heavier rents.

But the most fundamental error was the assumption that people wouldn’t respond in creative ways to avoid tax. Many people with a lot of windows started bricking up windows instead of just paying the tax. And often when new buildings were built, the number of windows were reduced, and at times, completely eliminated to avoid tax.

So not only tenants had to pay higher rents, they now had to live with inadequate light and ventilation

The legislation also failed to define a window, allowing tax collectors to charge anything that remotely resembled one including perforated grates in larders, leading to much resentment among all section of the society. It was novelist Charles Dickens who gave voice to these dissatisfaction.

In 1850, Dickens wrote about the window tax in Household Words, a magazine that he published for a number of years:

A building with bricked up windows in Bath. Photo credit: Jo Folkes/Flickr

But the tax was not nearly as progressive as it first seemed. In towns and cities, many poor families lived in large tenement buildings with many windows, and were therefore subject to heavy window tax assessments. The tax was paid by the landlord but the costs of the window tax were passed on to the residents in heavier rents.

But the most fundamental error was the assumption that people wouldn’t respond in creative ways to avoid tax. Many people with a lot of windows started bricking up windows instead of just paying the tax. And often when new buildings were built, the number of windows were reduced, and at times, completely eliminated to avoid tax.

So not only tenants had to pay higher rents, they now had to live with inadequate light and ventilation

The legislation also failed to define a window, allowing tax collectors to charge anything that remotely resembled one including perforated grates in larders, leading to much resentment among all section of the society. It was novelist Charles Dickens who gave voice to these dissatisfaction.

In 1850, Dickens wrote about the window tax in Household Words, a magazine that he published for a number of years:

The adage ‘free as air’ has become obsolete by Act of Parliament. Neither air nor light have been free since the imposition of the window-tax. We are obliged to pay for what nature lavishly supplies to all, at so much per window per year; and the poor who cannot afford the expense are stinted in two of the most urgent necessities of life.

One year later, in 1851, the window tax was repealed—156 years after first being introduced.

The window tax was just one of scores of absurd taxes designed by the British government to raise money. Another one was the brick tax introduced in 1784, during the reign of King George III, to help pay for the wars in the American Colonies. Again the people responded by increasing the size of the bricks so that fewer bricks are needed to raise a house. Many buildings built with oversized bricks still stand in Measham, Leicestershire.

Similarly, between 1662 and 1689, tax was levied on the number of hearths or fireplace in a dwelling, encouraging people to crowd into smaller dwellings and go without fire in some cases to avoid the tax. But the window tax was by far the longest lasting and the most hated.

Even today, the legacy of the window tax can seen be seen in the bricked-up windows in many historic buildings across Britain.

Bonus fact: The term “daylight robbery” is believed to have stemmed from window tax since it essentially amounted to robbing people of daylight through an unfair mean. However, the first printed use of the phrase didn’t occur until 1916, and even then the context didn’t explicitly link it to unfair overcharging. It was only after 1949 that the phrase was firmly associated with “unfairness”. Because of this disconnect—both in time and in meaning—between window tax and the phrase, some etymologistbelieve that the relation between the two is a myth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A satirical cartoon titled ‘The Revolution of the Planets Against the Tax Upon Light’ in response to the window tax introduced in 1696.                                                                                 A family looking forward to seeing more of the Sun when the Window Tax would be repealed. Cartoon by Richard Doyle, 1754.

Source……..Kaushik in http://www.amusingplanet.com

Natarajam

 

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” No one thinks Banks are trustworthy anymore “….

Somewhere along the way everyone fell in love with the prefix e — as in e-banking and e-commerce and e-jiggerypokery

Dear Mr. Banker,

Hello. This is one of your clients. I am appalled at what you have decided to do to banks. Oh, I’m not talking about your non-performing assets and your crony capitalism. If I had had a problem with that, I would have put my money in a sock and tucked it under my mattress. I get it. You probably thought the diamond merchant was a good idea. (Did a solitaire for wifey clinch the deal?) You probably thought the world needs one more mismanaged airline. (Were there some free tickets thrown in?) You probably had political pressure put on you to advance loans to the friends of those in power. (Things do not change because people do not change.)

What I am talking about is how you deal with those who are my age. I am in my fifties and I rather like to think that my money is my own and that you are only the custodian of it. I know also that we are living in the last golden age of interest; that some banks in developed nations charge their customers to keep their money. I know all this but I think it is rather much when you don’t deliver a cheque book after 10 days.

Gone are the days

Now in the old days, I would pop across the street with a piece of paper and sign on the dotted line and the bank clerk would nod and tell me to come back in two days. I would duly go back in two days and be told that he was on leave, could I come back in two days. When I went back in two days, he would be there and my cheque book would be handed over to me and all would be well again. He would ask after my health and I would ask whether his son had done well in the examinations. We had a relationship, he and I. It wasn’t the world’s best relationship but you’re trying to replace it with something poisonous and vile and inhuman because somewhere along the way everyone fell in love with the prefix e- as in e-banking and e-commerce and e-jiggerypokery.

So with your bank, I have to register a request. Some system records my request and then I get an sms saying that the cheque book is ready and it is to be delivered and then another sms saying that the cheque book is on its way — what is this dance of the seven veils? — and then… nothing.

So I call up the service centre where Aziz replies. Aziz is courteous and he informs me that this call will be recorded for the purpose of maintaining quality. That doesn’t fool me, you know. It is to stop me from abusing. Anyway, I don’t believe there is much point abusing Aziz who is a working stiff, trying to make a living. He is not in charge of your policies. He has no idea how much you don’t want to see me at the bank, how much you despise my warm body at the bank because it takes up real estate and costs the bank some more wages for tellers and the line. He has no idea that you want me to do my banking in a disembodied fashion so that all the big shots can earn some more free tickets. He only knows that I do not have a phone banking pin.

I say that I do not have a phone banking pin because I do not use phone banking.

He is slightly perturbed but he asks me to call back from my registered mobile number and answer some questions so he can give me back the phone banking pin that I do not use and will not use.

I do so.

Correct answers

Madhuri is on the line this time and she has several questions for me, all of which I answer correctly. She asks me what my problem is. I say that my cheque book has not turned up. She says she will check the system. This may take time, will I hold? I have long since understood that all service sector encounters in this nation are about waiting so I will wait while she plays me a series of advertisements for banking products in which lively people suggest I should entrust my money and my lifetime security to a bunch of people who cannot send me a cheque book in 10 days. I breathe deeply.

She is back on the phone and says that the cheque book has been returned to head office because my address is incomplete.

I point out that the address has worked for several spam letters delivered by the same bank, for two older cheque books and for several other pieces of paper that look portentous but are actually meaningless.

She says that this may be true but what to do.

I say that the delivery company is lying to them. They need to sort this out with the delivery company.

Madhuri says this may be true but what to do.

I say that I am being penalised for the failure of the delivery company.

Madhuri says this may be true but what to do.

I ask her what I should do. She perks up at this remarkably because it is now my turn to do.

Perhaps I could log on to the website and…

I do not use net banking, I tell her.

Why not? She seems perplexed as if I had said that I do not believe in human rights.

I take a page out of her book and go back to what to do.

She asks me why I don’t talk to my relationship manager.

I say that my relationship manager is but a wandering voice who is only interested in talking to me when my account crosses a certain mark and she thinks she can get me to plough some of it into her bonus.

She says I should take address proof and go to my nearest branch.

I begin to get angry. I say that I have nothing against her because she is doing a fine job but I do want to know why I should be penalised for the failure of their system.

She says that she has another solution. She will have my cheque book delivered to the nearest bank branch and I can pick it up from there.

I do not see that this is a solution since it means I must do the work but I am beaten. I agree.

Madhuri is relieved. She says I will get my cheque book in four working days.

I say that it is Friday, that means I will get it in six human days.

She says that this is true but what to do.

And finally…

I put down the phone. I get an email saying that I will receive my cheque book in eight working days.

I look at it and I think: this may even be true but what to do.

You see, Mr. Banker, there used to be a phrase: safe as banks. No one believes that any more. No one thinks that you’re trustworthy. No one thinks your institutions are trustworthy even if you have cleverly started putting ordinary people into your ads. Most people who have had anything to do with a bank know that it is run for the comfort and the convenience of the bank staff and for the wealth management of the big bosses.

Nothing we can do about that right now. But think about this for a moment. For decades, government-run telephony ruled our lives because we had no option. One day, the mobile phones came along and their monopoly ended. Think about the postal systems, they too had a monopoly and they’re dying now. Somewhere you’re going to tick off some young person; she will go home and create an institutional option, a system which puts the customer up, front and centre — it might be an app but I wouldn’t bet on it — and you’re all going to end up on the rubbish heap of economic history.

Or you could wake up and start thinking about the customer. What a revolutionary idea that would be.

Jerry Pinto

http://www.thehindu.com

The writer tries to think and write and translate in the cacophony of Mumbai.

Natarajan

வாரம் ஒரு கவிதை… ” எங்கும் எதிலும் “

எங்கும் எதிலும்
————–

photo-1485546246426-74dc88dec4d9

எங்கள் வங்கியில் எங்கும் எந்த ஊரிலும்
எந்த கிளையிலும் நீங்க உங்க பணம்
பெறலாம் ..பணம் கட்டலாம் என்று
சொன்னது என் வங்கி …மகிழ்ந்தேன் நான் !
வங்கிக்கு செல்லும் வீண் சங்கடம் எதுக்கு
உனக்கு…. உன் வங்கி கணக்கு விவரம்
இப்போ உன் மடிக் கணினியிலும் கைபேசியிலும்
சொன்னது மீண்டும் என் வங்கி !
வங்கியே என் கையில் இப்போது ..எங்கும் எப்போதும் !
பணம் எடுக்க ATM …எங்கும் எதிலும் எப்போதும் !
விண்ணில் பறந்தேன் நான் …மண்ணில் இல்லை
என் கால் !
எங்கும் எதிலும் எப்போதும் பண பரிமாற்றம் !
உங்க வங்கிக்கு நீங்க வரவே தேவை இல்லை
உங்க வங்கி கணக்கு இப்போ உங்க கையில்
என்றும் சொன்ன என் வங்கி இருக்குதா
அதே இடத்தில் என் பணத்துடன் ?
இன்று சென்று பார்க்க வேண்டும் நான் !
எங்கும் எதிலும் நானாவது கவனமாக
இருக்க வேண்டாமா ? என் வங்கியில்
இருப்பது என் பணம் அய்யா !
Natarajan
in http://www.dinamani.com dated 25th Feb 2018

Unlike the Super-Rich defauters ,this Ex-PM”s familyHonoured their loan liability ….

These are not good times for the Punjab National Bank, which is embroiled in an 11,400 crore-scam allegedly perpetrated by diamond mogul Nirav Modi and his maternal uncle, Mehul Choksi.

For the average citizen, this is yet another instance of a wealthy man swindling public money through dubious loans issued by these banks, and leaving the country without paying back his dues.

Unlike Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallya, the PNB, which is India’s second largest public-sector bank, also had famous personalities and their families as customers who have honoured their loans.

Former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri had taken a car loan of Rs 5,000 from PNB. After his sudden demise on January 11, 1966, the former prime minister’s widow Lalitha paid back the loan from the pension she received, reported Times of India.

“We went to St Columba’s School on a tonga. Once in a while, we used the office car, but my father did not allow us to use it regularly for any kind of private work. There was a demand at home that we should buy a car,” said Anil Shastri, his son and senior Congress politician, to the publication.

In response to his family’s demands, Shastri approached a senior official from the PMO and discovered that a new Fiat would cost Rs 12,000. Since the family had only Rs 7,000 in the bank, the prime minister decided to apply for a Rs 5,000 loan which the bank sanctioned that very day.

When the prime minister passed away in Tashkent, where he had gone to sign the declaration of peace between India and Pakistan after the 1965 war, the loan remained unpaid. “It was repaid by my mother from the pension she received after my father’s death,” said Anil Shastri.                                                                                                                         

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This 1964-model Fiat with the plate number DLE 6 is today exhibited at the Lal Bahadur Shastri Memorial in the national capital.

Source….www.thebetterindia.com

Natarajan

 

வீண் செலவு இல்லாத ஒரு திருமணம் …! Waste less Destination Wedding Plan …

 

1.. என் ஆதரவு ” டெஸ்டினேஷன் வெட்டிங் பிளானுக்கு “
2. பழக்கம் வழக்கம் என்று சொல்லி லட்சம் பல செலவு செய்து தங்கள் பகட்டு , பணம்
   செல்வாக்கு என்ன என்று ஊருக்கு காட்டும் வழக்கமான திருமணத்தில் மணமகனும்
   மணமகளும் வெறும் காட்சி பொம்மைகளே ! அக்னி சாட்சியாக நடக்கவிருக்கும்
   மண நாளுக்கு முந்தைய தினமே இந்த இரண்டு ” பொம்மைகளை ” வைத்து அவர்
   பெற்றோர்  நடத்தும் “பொம்மலாட்டம்” அவர் செல்வாக்கை வெளிச்சம் போட்டுக்
   காட்டும் ஒரு விளம்பர படம் ! ஆதலால் , என் வாக்கு “வேஸ்ட் லெஸ்  டெஸ்டினேஷன்
   வெட்டிங் பிளானுக்கு ” மட்டுமே !
3. இன்றைய திருமணத்தில் தவிர்க்கப் பட வேண்டிய குறைகள் சில ..
   1. ஆடம்பர திருமண அழைப்பிதழ்
   2. ஆடம்பர ஆடை  அணிகலன்கள்
   3. ஆடம்பர விருந்து
   4. பகட்டு மேடை அலங்காரம் , மின் விளக்கு அலங்காரம்
   5. மெல்லிசை நிகழ்ச்சி  என்னும் பெயரில் திருமண மண்டபமே அதிரும்
      அதிர்வலைகள் !
   6.வாழ்த்து கூற விரும்பும் விருந்தினர் வரிசையில் காத்திருக்க வேண்டிய கட்டாயம் ..
     வயது முதிர்ந்த தம்பதியரும் வரிசையில் நிற்கும் அவலம் !
   பின்பற்றப் பட வேண்டிய நிறைகள் சில …
   1. மங்கள  இசை
   2. மென்மையான மண மாலைகள்
   3. வேத மந்திர  உச்சாடனம் … அவரவர்  மதம், குல வழக்கம்  மனதில் கொண்டு
   4. ஹோமம் , அக்னி சாட்சி …அவரவர்  மதம் , குல வழக்கப் படி
   5. அவரவர் குடும்ப பெரியவர் மற்றும் முக்கிய உறவினர் முன்னிலை …
   6. எளிய சிறப்பு உடை …எளிமையான குடும்ப விருந்து …
4.  வரவேற்பு , இரவு விருந்து  என்னும் பெயரில் வீணடிக்கப்படும் வறட்டு ஜம்ப செலவு
    பணத்தை , “வருங்கால சேமிப்பு வைப்பு நிதியாக ” மாற்றி மணமக்களுக்கு திருமண
    பரிசாக கொடுக்கலாமே !
5. என்னுடைய புதிய ” டெஸ்டினேஷன் வெட்டிங் ” மற்றும் ” வேஸ்ட் லெஸ் வெட்டிங் “
   திட்டம் .
   1. மணமகன் , மணமகள் வழியில் நீண்ட  திருமண வாழ்க்கை  ..பொன் விழா
      வைர விழா கண்ட முதிய அனுபவம் மிகுந்த தம்பதியர் இல்லத்தில்
      நடக்க வேண்டும் ஒரு ” டெஸ்டினேஷன் வெட்டிங் ” .
   2. இலட்சிய தம்பதியர் முன்னிலையில் அவர்கள் ஆசியுடன் நடக்கும்
      ஒரு திருமணம் புது மண தம்பதிக்கு தாங்களும்  அந்த
      லட்சிய தம்பதி போல வாழ்க்கை நடத்திக் காட்ட வேண்டும் என்னும்
      ஆசை விதையை அவர் மனதில் விதைக்கும் .
   3. இல்லத்தில் நடக்கும் இனிய மண விழா என்பதால் முக்கிய உறவுகள்
      தவிர மற்றவருக்கு இணைய தள நேரலை மூலம் திருமண நிகழ்வு
      மகிழ்ச்சியுடன் பகிர்ந்து கொள்ளப் படும் .
    4. திருமண வாழ்த்து சொல்ல விரும்பும் மற்ற சுற்றமும் , நட்பும்
       திருமண இணைய தளத்தில் தங்கள் மகிழ்ச்சி மற்றும் வாழ்த்துக்கள்
      பதிவு செய்வர் .
    5. திருமண பரிசு கொடுக்க விரும்பும் அன்பர்கள் திருமண இணைய
       தளத்தில் அறிவிக்கப் பட்டு உள்ள  மணமக்களின் வங்கி கணக்கில்
       செலுத்த அன்பு வேண்டுகோள் … பரிசு காசோலையும் அனுப்பும் வசதி !
    6. பரிசு விபரமும் திருமண இணைய தளத்தில் பதிவு செய்யப் பட்டு விடும் .
    7. வாழ்த்துக்கும் , பரிசுக்கும் நன்றி இணைய தளத்திலோ அல்லது
       அவரவர் மின் அஞ்சல் மூலமாகவோ  தெரிவிக்கப்படும் .
    8. இனிய மண நாள் நிகழ்வு புகைப் படங்கள் தொகுப்பு  மற்றும்
       ஒளிநாடா (வீடியோ ) திருமண இணைய தளத்திலேயே பதிவேற்றப்பட்டு
       வேண்டும் சமயம் பார்த்து மகிழவும்  மற்றும் சுற்றம் நட்புடன்  பகிர்ந்து
       கொள்ளவும் வழி வகுக்கும் .
    9. இந்த மாதிரி ” டெஸ்டினேஷன் மற்றும் வேஸ்ட் லெஸ் வெட்டிங் ” மணமக்களின்
       சந்ததியருக்கும் ஒரு நல்ல முன் மாதிரி ஆகும் !
    10. ஒரு நல்ல ஆரம்பம் …அதுவே அந்த குடும்பத்தின் பழக்கமாகவும்
        வழக்கமாகவும் மாறிட இது ஒரு நல்ல வாய்ப்பு !
The above input sent by me to the Tamil Daily Dinamani  in response to a Contest announced by them a fortnight back  has secure Second Prize in the contest.
Source …www.dinamani.com dated 27th Dec 2017
Natarajan

The German Hyperinflation of 1923…

There was a time when an average German carried billions of marks in their pockets but could still buy nothing. A loaf of bread cost 200 billion marks. A week’s pension would not buy even a cup of coffee. The mark was freefalling and its value decreasing by the minute. Restaurants stopped printing menus because by the time the food arrived the price had gone up. One guy drank the first cup of coffee at 5,000 marks. The second cup cost him 9,000 marks. The stories from those days were horrifying and amusing at the same time. One boy was sent by his mother to buy two bread buns. He stopped on the way to play football, and by the time he got to the shop, the price had gone up, so he could only afford to buy one. One man set out for Berlin to buy a pair of shoes. But when he got there, all he could afford was a cup of coffee and the bus fare home.

The absurd situation began sometime around the middle of the First World War, when the German government decided that instead of using the taxpayer’s money to fund the war they would simply borrow money from other nations. The Germans were confident that they would be able to pay off the debt once they won the war by seizing the resource-rich industrial territories and imposing reparations on the defeated Allies.

But the plan backfired. Germany lost the war and ended up with massive debts. In addition, the Treaty of Versailles imposed Germany a huge fine of 132 billion marks (or $31.4 billion) as reparations for causing loss and damage to the Allies on account of the war. In order to pay off the debts, the government turned to deceit—they began to print money, and used it to buy foreign currency, which was then used to pay reparations. Soon there was too much money chasing too few goods and inflation spiraled out of control.

At first, inflation crept up slowly—from 4.2 marks per dollar before the war to 48 marks per dollar when the treaty was signed. Then it accelerated rapidly. In the first half of 1922, the mark was at 320 marks per dollar. By the end of the year, it had fallen to 7,400 marks per US dollar. Eventually, the mark touched a mind-boggling 4.2 trillion marks to one US dollar.

Employees brought suitcases and backpacks to work on payday to collect their wages, and then dashed off to the nearest shop before the exchange rate changed. Banknotes of higher and higher denomination started turning up every few weeks. When the 1,000-billion mark note came out, few bothered to collect the change when they spent it. The hyperinflation peaked in October 1923 and banknote denominations rose to 100 trillion mark. The currency had lost meaning.

People stopped dealing in cash and started bartering instead. Many doctors insisted on being paid in sausages, eggs, coal, and the like. People exchanged a pair of shoes for a shirt, and some crockery for coffee. There was widespread economic panic and mistrust. People began to live as if there were no tomorrow. Dancehalls and strip bars opened up in the cities, and cocaine sales skyrocketed.

Strangely enough, goods were not in short supply. There was simply no stable currency to buy them with. The only objects of real value were tangible assets—diamonds, gold, antiques, and art. Soon the country crumbled into petty thievery. People began stealing anything—soaps, hairpins, copper pipes, gasoline.

It was clear than a radical monetary change was needed to halt the permanent depreciation and return to a more ordered state of affairs. In late 1923, the mark was replaced by a new currency—the Rentenmark, which was backed by mortgages on agricultural and industrial land. The value of the Rentenmark was fixed at the old exchange rate of 4.2 Rentenmark for one US dollar.

Germany limped back to normalcy but the country was never the same again. Lost savings were never recovered, “nor were the values of hard work and decency that had accompanied the savings,” wrote George J.W. Goodman, the American author and economist. “There was a different temper in the country, a temper that Hitler would later exploit with diabolical talent.”

Pearl S. Buck, the American writer, who was in Germany in 1923, wrote:

The cities were still there, the houses not yet bombed and in ruins, but the victims were millions of people. They had lost their fortunes, their savings; they were dazed and inflation-shocked and did not understand how it had happened to them and who the foe was who had defeated them. Yet they had lost their self-assurance, their feeling that they themselves could be the masters of their own lives if only they worked hard enough; and lost, too, were the old values of morals, of ethics, of decency.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 100 trillion mark banknote. Photo credit: National Numismatic Collection, National Museum of American History.  

and, A Berlin banker counts stacks of bundled marks.

Source….Kaushik in http://www.amusingplanet.com

Natarajan

 

 

The Origin of 8 Famous Phrases…

We use phrases, expressions, and proverbs on a daily basis when conversing with each other. Whether you’re at home, hanging out with some friends, or at work, chances are that you’ve uttered one of the phrases below more than once in your life. But, do you ever stop to think about what these expressions really mean? Where they come from? The answer to this is probably no, so let’s take a look at 8 common phrases and learn where there came from.

1. It’s Raining Cats and Dogs

Houses used to have thatched roofs. These roofs had thick straw piled together to form a ceiling, but there was no wood underneath.

So how did this phrase come about? Well, according to a popular theory, on cold nights, animals such as cats, dogs, mice, and rats would climb onto these roofs in order to have a warm place to sleep. Unfortunately, when it started to rain, the thatched roofs got so slippery that cats and dogs would slip and fall off the roofs. Therefore, when it rained heavily, it would literally rain cats and dogs (and whatever other animals were on the roofs).

2. Mad as a Hatter

The average person will probably tell you that this famous expression comes from Alice in Wonderland, but they’d be sorely mistaken. The Mad Hatter character isn’t the reason you use this phrase when describing someone who has lost their mind.

The true origin goes back to the days when actual hatmakers used mercury to construct their hats. The mercury poisoned the hatmakers and affected their nervous systems. Mercury causes aggressive, heavy mood swings, and erratic behavior and, as a result, “mad hatter’s disease” became the nickname for mercury poisoning, and the expression has been popular ever since.

3. Cat Got Your Tongue?

This is often used when someone is silent or at a loss for words. Surprisingly though, it has nothing to do with cats. In the English navy, punishments were handed out in the form of a flogging, which was carried out with a whip known as a cat-o’-nine-tails.

This was a formidable weapon, and the pain from being flogged by it was so bad that it caused its victims to go mute. They would often be afraid to speak and would often remain mute for a long time after a flogging.

Drunken navy sailors would then walk around shouting, “Cat got your tongue?” as a way of taunting the victims. So, next time you’re rendered speechless because someone made a really good point, remember that it could be a lot worse.

4. Bring Home the Bacon

There are a number of theories as to where this phrase comes from, but the two most popular include pigs.

According to one theory, this phrase comes from winners at state fairs bringing home the greased pigs they caught in competitions. However, the more popular theory is that highly successful men back in the day would buy pork, cook some bacon, and then hang it on their walls when they had guests over. This showed everyone how successful the men were. Walking into a man’s house and seeing bacon hanging on the wall meant that he was to be respected. In this particular case, bringing home the bacon was the ultimate sign of power and class.

5. Eat Crow

Usually, we have to “eat crow” when we’ve been proven wrong after taking a strong stance on something.

The expression originates from where you’d expect. Crow meat tastes bad and is hard to swallow. The simple connection to this term can start and end here, but there’s an even more interesting origin story.

Back in 1812, an American accidentally went hunting across British enemy lines. The US soldier was caught shooting and killing a crow by a British soldier. As punishment, the British soldier, after praising the American for his accurate shooting, tricked him into giving up his gun.

Now armed, the Brit pointed the gun at the American and forced him to take a bite out of the crow. After the American complied, he was given back his gun. Angered, the American then turned the gun on the British soldier and forced him to eat the rest of the bird.

6. On Cloud Nine

It’s often thought that this is a reference to Heaven, but this is not true.

According to one known origin of this expression, one of the classifications of clouds, defined by the US Weather Bureau in the 1950s, is known as “Cloud Nine.” This is a type of fluffy, cumulonimbus type of cloud.

So, what makes this cloud so special? Well, this cloud is considered to be the most attractive in the cloud community, which is what gives the phrase it’s positive connotation.

7. Crocodile Tears

For those who may not know, this expression refers to someone who is faking crying or pretending to be upset. When they do this, they are said to be shedding crocodile tears.

Did this phrase come about because crocodiles never cry? Well, no, the origin is a lot more interesting than that. In an ancient anecdote, Photios claimed that crocodiles cry to strategically lure their prey closer to them. When the prey is close enough, the crocodiles drop the act and go in for the kill.

8. Don’t Throw the Baby Out with the Bathwater

This strange expression goes all the way back to the 1500s. Believe it or not, but people in the 16th century only bathed once a year, and to make matters worse, entire groups used to bathe in the same water.

The men would go first, then the women, and then the children and babies went last. The water was so dirty by the time the babies got in, that they often came out clouded. Sometimes, mothers had to make sure that the babies weren’t literally thrown out with the dirty bathwater.

The phrase, “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater,” now means that you should make sure you don’t throw out anything valuable while getting rid of unnecessary things. Nothing is more valuable than a newborn baby, so the phrase still rings true even to this day.

Source: listverse  

http://www.ba-bamail.com

Natarajan

Images: depositphotos