Now You Know

Why are strangers who plead for help called “beggars”?

The name of a twelfth-century monk, Lambert de Begue, whose followers
wandered the French countryside depending on handouts, gave
us the verb to beg. When in 555 AD the Roman general Belisarius was
stripped of his rank and wealth, he became one of history’s most
notable beggars, and his frequent cry, “Don’t kick a man when he’s
down,” gave us a maxim for all who are on very hard timeshen the early Normans brought fire indoors they built semicircular
open fireplaces. To keep warm at night or when the air was cool, the
family would sit in a semicircle opposite the one formed by the hearth,
creating a complete circle where they would spend time telling stories
or singing songs within what they called the “family circle.” When
neighbours were included, it became “a circle of friends.”

Why does a man refer to his wife as his “better half”?

Most men call their wives their “better half” because they believe it,
but the expression comes from an ancient Middle Eastern legend.
When a Bedouin man had been sentenced to death, his wife pleaded
with the tribal leader that because they were married, she and her husband
had become one, and that to punish one-half of the union would
also punish the half who was innocent. The court agreed and the man’s
life was saved by his “better half.”

Why is someone with a lot of nerve referred to as being “full of moxie”?

Today Moxie is a New England soft drink, but it began as a tonic
invented by Dr. Augustine Thompson in 1884 as “Moxie Nerve Food.”
Although the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act put an end to its medicinal
claims, there are still those who say Moxie gives them energy, and so
to be “full of moxie” means to be full of false nerve.

Why do we call someone who continually takes the fall for someone else a “whipping boy”?

In the mid-seventeenth century, young princes and aristocrats were
sent off to school with a young servant who would attend classes and
receive an education while also attending to his master’s needs. If
the master found himself in trouble, the servant would take the punishment
for him, even if it were a whipping. He was his master’s
“whipping boy.”

From The Book Titled "Now You Know" by Doug Lennox