Here are the meanings for some commonly used phrases or words:
“Buying the farm”
This phrase is synonymous with dying. During World War 1, soldiers were given life insurance policies worth $5,000, which was about the price of an average farm at the time. If you died, you “bought the farm” for your survivors.
“Staterooms” on a ship
In the past, traveling by steamboat was considered the height of comfort. Passenger cabins on the boats were not numbered. Instead they were named after states. To this day, cabins on ships are called staterooms.
The word “curfew” comes from the French phrase “couvre-feu,” which means “cover the fire.” It was used to describe the time of blowing out all lamps and candles. It was later adopted into Middle English as “curfeu” which later became the modern “curfew.” In the early American colonies, homes had no real fireplaces, so a fire was built in the center of the room. To ensure that a fire did not get out of control during the night, it was required that, by an agreed upon time, all fires would be covered with a clay pot called a “curfew.”
Thank you to Village volunteer Gilda Morgan for contributing this article!