Kweezzz Quiz Sep 19: Etymology Quiz

The quizzing bug has also hit twitter bigtime. Kweezzz holds daily quizzes on various topics. Check out their facebook page for the complete schedule. Kweezzz was also mentioned on TOI recently and this would have contributed to a big increase in their followers. To participate in their quiz, all you have to do is to follow @kweezzz and start answering questions. That’s it. Many quizzers conducts these quizzes and the questions can be found on the twitter page. But the problem is that almost all the questions have external links and browsing them is difficult. So, the aim of the kweezzz pages is to document each of these wonderful quizzes for all to enjoy.

Etymology Quiz conducted by Pranav Backliwal on Sep 19th.

  • This is a Sufi word that means to eliminate oneself, or render oneself extinct, while remaining physically alive. Those who enter this state are said to be at one with Allah. What word? Fanaa
  • This word comes from the name given to Jacob in the Bible, after he fought and defeated an angel of God. An approximate literal meaning is “to endure the wrath of God”. What word. Israel
  • In the 19th century, the US had a wave of immigrants who often settled in vast grasslands an and around North Dakota. They came up with an innovative solution to protect their houses from being burnt down due to forest fires. However, at times, this solution would not always work making the houses more vulnerable. Two phrases/words originated from this practice, I want both. Fighting fire with fire, and backfire.
  • This word may have originated from a combination of two first names, common in a community of immigrants from The Netherlands living in the area where New England is located today. Today it is used in a much more generic context. What word? Yankees. From common Dutch names Jan and Kees
  • The earliest use of this phrase referred to a form of horse racing in the 16th century, where the rider in the lead would follow a path of his choice and other participants had to follow it, irrespective of how random it was. What phrase? Giveaway clue: The phrase itself has nothing to do with horses. It references another creature though.Wild goose chase. Because it resembles the flying formation of geese
  • This phrase may have originated from a folk-song from Madhya Pradesh. The meaning of this phrase was not made clear, but it may be a mocking reference to the relationship between a bride and her in-laws, using the analogy of a beautiful flower that has no fragrance.  What phrase? Sasuraal genda phool
  • What is the ancient Greek word for “oppression” and also “heavy breathing”? Asthma
  • The first known use of this term was in a 1909 book, where the author said, “Kansas is justified to see New York as a greedy city. It thinks that the ____  _____ should get a disproportionate share of the national sap”. What? Big Apple
  • This is the name of a legendary bird in Persian mythology. Its name literally means “Lord of the birds” or “Greatest bird on earth”. A chess piece also derives its name from this name, and in fact, originally, a bird-shaped figurine was used instead of this piece. What? A9. Shah Rokh or Shah Rukh. No points for rook. Note: This question was later cancelled.
  • In medieval jousting contests, knights would be given a ribbon or a cloth from the women they loved as a good luck charm, and they would tie this around their arm before starting the joust. Very workout-able, what phrase originates from this custom? A10. Wearing your heart on your sleeve
  • As you know, there are four classical elements – earth, air, water and fire. A particular word was used to denote a fifth element, something that existed in everything in the universe, but was incredibly difficult to extract, and hence was the biggest objective of alchemy. What word? A11. Quintessence
  • This three word phrase has nautical origins and is used to convey shock or astonishment. A forgotten meaning of the first word is “to break or shatter”. Hence the phrase literally meant, “may my ship collapse or break”. What? A12. Shiver me timbers
  • This was first used by a famous American novelist in a book that he wrote while living in Central America. It is used to describe countries that are fundamentally unstable, and whose economy depends on the export of a single commodity. What term? A13. Banana Republic
  • In the Middle Ages, this was the French word for something cooked twice. It described the process by which it was prepared. What? Biscuit
  • One of the possible origins for this expression comes from an old children’s game played with small stones. The aim of the game was to capture the stones of the other players, and as one did so, they would call out “______”, to indicate ownership of the stones. What word? A15. Dibs, from a game called dibstones
  • It was one of the first places in the UK to provide treatment to the mentally challenged. A word originated from its name, that probably signified the state of affairs at this institution? Similar usage today. What word?  Bedlam, from Bethlem Royal Hospital
  • It is rumored that this term originated from the profession of carpentry. Two men would use a saw to cut a piece of wood, and the subordinate among the two would invariably take position in a sawdust pit below. Metal brackets used to hold the wood in place were called _____, hence the guy below was called the _________.
    What was he called? A17. The metal brackets were called “dogs”, so the guy was called an underdog.
  • In a book by Pliny the Elder, a remedy for toxins in your blood was said to be a mixture of dried walnuts, figs and rue leaves ground together, with the addition of X. This ingredient apparently made it easier to swallow the remedy, giving rise to a modern phrase. What? A18. With a grain of salt. (Pinch of salt also accepted)

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