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Author Topic: DAILY BRIEFING  (Read 66874 times)

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Offline rufusredtail

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Re: DAILY BRIEFING
« Reply #180 on: August 21, 2017, 12:08:56 PM »

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BLUNDERBUSS

Primitive shotgun.
"Blunderbuss" is a corruption of the Dutch donderbus, "thunder gun;' a fair description of the weapon that found great favor in all Western navies for its effectiveness at sweeping enemy decks. With a massive, bell-ended barrel, the gun's additional advantage was that no specific ammunition was required; any redundant  metal  and bent nails would do. There is a modern misconception that the bell? shaped muzzle ensured a wide spread'of the shot, but it was simply to make it easy to pour in shrapnel at great speed. By the late 17th century, "blunderbuss" was being used of any noisy or  boastful person, and in the 1920s had become a waggish term for a baby's pram. Since the 1980s in the UK the term has been used to refer to a touring coach used by party leaders traveling the country in the run-up to a general election .

Offline rufusredtail

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Re: DAILY BRIEFING
« Reply #181 on: August 29, 2017, 07:34:02 PM »

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BEST MAN

Attendant to bridegroom.
Back in the days when a bride might be kidnapped and forced into marriage to bring about some treaty between warring factions, the groom needed the best swordsman of his acquaintance to guard his back as he made off with his bride. The ushers at the church today are a pale reflection of the men involved in such raiding parties. The role of "best (swords)man" has been known since before AD 1000, although it was not encorporated into British wedding tradition until the early 1800s.

Offline rufusredtail

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Re: DAILY BRIEFING
« Reply #182 on: September 12, 2017, 03:42:48 PM »

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GUERRILLA

Aggressive/unconventional fighter .
Guerrilla is actually the Spanish for "little war" and is thus descriptive of the hit-and-run tactics employed; a soldier fighting in such a manner is a guerrillero. Although the term has been used in English since the early 1800s, "guerrilla war" is something of a tautology, translating as "little war war:' The word is now used in general speech to describe things that share characteristics with guerrillas' tactics.

Offline rufusredtail

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Re: DAILY BRIEFING
« Reply #183 on: September 18, 2017, 01:52:02 PM »
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BLUE BLOOD

Of noble birth.
In the 5th century, the much-maligned Vandals colonized the southern reaches of the Iberian Peninsula as a jumping-off point for their invasion of North Africa, giving us the name Andalusia, which was originally Vandalusia. Four hundred years later, the 9th-century Moors returned the favor by invading mainland Spain, which they controlled until the 11th century. Throughout this period, the Castilian nobility refused to tolerate the fraternization and intermarriage that had become quite commonplace. As a result, their skin remained paler than that of those nobles of mixed blood, and their veins still showed blue at their wrists. The Castilian boast of their sangre azul arrived in English as "blue blood" in the early 1830s.

Offline rufusredtail

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Re: DAILY BRIEFING
« Reply #184 on: September 24, 2017, 05:54:32 PM »

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TOMMY

British soldier.
Based on the ubiquity of the name Thomas Atkins in the 18th century, the first known incidence of "Tommy" as an affectionate nickname for the ordinary British soldier dates to 1743. It gained official recognition in 1815 with newly-issued forms and pay books. All the new paperwork came supplied with example forms completed in the fictitious name of Thomas Atkins.

Offline rufusredtail

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Re: DAILY BRIEFING
« Reply #185 on: October 05, 2017, 07:04:08 PM »

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SINISTER

Ominous and threatening.
Sinister is simply the Latin for "left" and, as explained in SALUTE, the handshake was once a determined and sustained grasp of both parties'  right  hands  to  preclude  the  drawing  of  a  sword  during negotiations.  A  left-handed,  or  "sinister;' person  with  malicious intent would hold a definite advantage in this context. Also, a left? handed swordsman would have the bonus of presenting right-handed opponents with mirror-moves, which could well leave them confused. Every aspect of the layout of castles and keeps related to their defense;  that  which  is  deemed  today  to  be  nothing  more  than pleasing to the eye was constructed for a specific military purpose. For example, on the broad but narrowing access to the main entrance, the steps are always uneven in number, size, and regularity; perhaps two steps up, then a short flat before three steps, another flat section before a single step, and so forth. Any forces attempting to charge up such irregular steps would trip over their own feet and create a bottleneck right under the archery positions. The open and winding stone stairs found in castles are also there by defensive design. All snake  upwards  in  an  anticlockwise  spiral  to  give  right-handed defenders the full sweep advantage over insurgents most likely to have their sword arms hampered by the wall. An exception to this rule is the Ferniehirst Castle near Jedburgh on the England-Scotland border, the stronghold of the Kerr family, which has clockwise stairs because
of the unusually high incidence of left-handedness in the family.
Originating in battle, the prejudice against the left side permeated society; the French word gauche, "left;' came to mean "clumsy" in early 16th-century English. "Cack-handed" and "awkward" both mean left-handed, and a left-handed compliment, one which carries a thinly veiled insult, has prevented the closure of many a conflict. RIGHT-HAND MAN and SALUTE

Offline rufusredtail

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Re: DAILY BRIEFING
« Reply #186 on: October 11, 2017, 04:28:20 PM »

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GRANT QUARTER

Show mercy.
Known since the late 16th century, this was a battlefield expression indicating that vanquished knights would be taken prisoner and held for ransom. While the details of the deal were being agreed, the victor was expected to provide his "guests" with appropriate quarters and add the cost of their upkeep to the final demand, hence "granting quarter:' There is no substance to the suggestion that the expression was born of the ransom being fixed at one quarter of the captive's worth .

Offline rufusredtail

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Re: DAILY BRIEFING
« Reply #187 on: October 21, 2017, 03:27:55 PM »

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HIGH PROFILE/LOW PROFILE

Prominent/ insignificant.
During the opening years of the Cold War (1945-90), when the navies of Eastern and Western countries kept a close eye on each others' maritime shenanigans, the above terms marked the broad distinction between the two main categories of "enemy" shipping. "High profile" covered battleships up to aircraft carriers while "low profile" was reserved for surfaced submarines and "innocent" trawlers out for a spot of fishing. The terms moved into general use via the press.

Offline rufusredtail

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Re: DAILY BRIEFING
« Reply #188 on: October 29, 2017, 08:32:49 AM »

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CENOTAPH

Monument to the fallen.
Cenotaphs were first seen in Ancient Greece to honor those lost at sea; invariably erected on headlands, the cenotaph took its name from kenos, "empty;' and taphos, "tomb:' The most famous cenotaph in the UK has stood in London's Whitehall since its completion in 1920 by Sir Edward Lutyens to commemorate those lost in World War I.

Offline rufusredtail

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Re: DAILY BRIEFING
« Reply #189 on: November 14, 2017, 05:16:48 AM »
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SHAVETAIL

Inexperienced person.
Mules have many qualities, some irksome and others downright painful, so those who ran the mule-trains of the mid-19th century American Army would shave off the tail of any new mule as a warning to the unwary that its behavior might be unpredictable . It was not long before the troops were using the term for any newcomer, and by the Spanish-American War of 1898 "shavetail" had become
 specific to describe a newly commissioned lieutenant.

Offline rufusredtail

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Re: DAILY BRIEFING
« Reply #190 on: November 30, 2017, 07:51:14 PM »

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RENDEZVOUS

Meeting point.
In the late 16th century, rendezvous was borrowed from French, along with its meaning of "deliver yourselves;' as an order to regular troops to gather at a certain place and time; it could also be put out as an order for an open muster demanding all able-bodied men in the area to turn up and join  the force.

Offline rufusredtail

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Re: DAILY BRIEFING
« Reply #191 on: December 10, 2017, 06:26:20 AM »

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RIGHT-HAND MAN
 
Person of special responsibility.
In the early 17th century this was the designation for the officer who rode to the right of a line of cavalry to direct the charge. In any military array or battle formation, those in the favor of the king or commander  always took up position on his right-hand  side, and this privilege shifted from the battlefield to the political arena, in which those allied to the crown always sat on the right wing of an assembly while those opposed took up their position on the left wing.

 

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