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Amusing Word Orgin Story: Mayday

Well, ccohoon will probably think it's amusing, anyway:
Mayday
Meaning: A distress signal
Origin: It doesn't have anything to do with the first of May. It comes frmo the pronunciation of the ending of the French phrase Venez m'aider, which means "Come help me!" Because of its distinctive sound -- understandable even over the static of a ship's radio -- and because m'aider sounded like "may day," a known English phrase, it was readily accepted as an official distress signal.
Interesting. So the international term for distress originated from a French phrase demanding help. [Insert joke here.]

From the "Uncle John's Bathroom Reader Calendar" (www.pageaday.com) entry for Sunday, May 1, 2005.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
rhiannonstone
May. 2nd, 2005 05:22 pm (UTC)
Why do you have a calendar in your bathroom? ;)
drmellow
May. 2nd, 2005 05:28 pm (UTC)
Heh. No, the calendar's not actually in the bathroom -- it's on my desk at work. Apparently, it's based on a book that was designed for placement in the bathroom, though: Uncle John's Great Big Bathroom Reader.

Of course, [insert joke about spending lots of time in the bathroom, and how that might require a calendar, here].
bodnej
May. 2nd, 2005 08:46 pm (UTC)
1. The Uncle John bathroom readers rock.
2. Last week, some cartoon in the Washington Post ripped off that joke. I thought it was "Get Fuzzy", but I didn't see it in the archives.

bodnej
May. 2nd, 2005 08:48 pm (UTC)
Oh wait. My reading comprehension sucks. You're the one ripping off the joke. Or it's just coincidence.
ccohoon
May. 3rd, 2005 02:34 am (UTC)
Yeah, that sounds right.

I know how to speak french:
"I surrender, I surrender!!! Please tell the Americans to rescue us. Again."
yarbiedoll
May. 3rd, 2005 01:00 pm (UTC)
*grumble, grumble*

At least you all know a bit of French trivia now.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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