In George Washington's day, there were no cameras. One's image was either
sculpted or painted. Some paintings of George Washington showed him
standing behind a desk with one arm behind his back, while others showed
both legs and both arms. Prices charged by painters were not based on how
many people were to be painted, but by how many limbs were to be painted.
Arms and legs are "limbs," therefore painting them would cost the buyer
more. Hence the _expression "Okay, but it'll cost you an arm and a leg."

As incredible as it sounds, men and women took baths only twice a year!
(May & October) Women always kept their hair covered while men shaved
their heads (because of lice and bugs) and wore wigs. Wealthy men could
afford good wigs. The wigs couldn't be washed, but to clean them, they could
carve out a loaf of bread, put the wig in the shell and bake it for 30 minutes.
The heat would make the wig big and fluffy, hence the term "big wig." Today
we often use the term "here comes the Big Wig" because someone appears
to be, or is, powerful and wealthy.

In the late 1700's many houses consisted of a large room with only one chair.
Commonly, a long wide board was folded down from the wall and used for
dining. The "head of the household" always sat in the chair while everyone
else ate sitting on the floor. Once in a while an invited guest, almost always a
man, would be offered this chair to sit in during a meal. To sit-in the chair
meant you were important and in charge. Sitting in the chair, one was called
the "chair man." Today in business we use the _expression/title "Chairman."

Needless to say, personal hygiene left much to be desired. As a result, many
women and men had developed acne scars by adulthood. The women would
spread bee's wax over their facial skin to smooth out their complexions. When
they were speaking to each other, if a woman began to
stare at another woman's face she was told "mind your own bee's wax."
Should the woman smile, the wax would crack, hence the term "crack a smile."
Also, when they sat too close to the fire, the wax would melt and therefore the
_expression "losing face."

Ladies wore corsets which would lace up in the front. A tightly tied lace
garment, worn by a proper and dignified lady, gave birth to the term "straight

Common entertainment included playing cards. However, there was a tax
levied when purchasing playing cards but only applicable to the "ace of
spades." To avoid paying the tax, people would purchase 51 cards instead.
Yet, since most games require 52 cards, these people were thought to be
stupid or dumb because they weren't "playing with a full deck."

Early politicians required feedback from the public to determine what was
considered important to the people. Since there were no telephones, TV's or
radios, the politicians sent their assistants to local taverns, pubs and bars
who were told to "go sip some ale" and listen to people's
conversations and political concerns. Many assistants were dispatched at
different times "you go sip here" and "you go sip there." The two words "go
sip" were eventually combined when referring to the local opinion; thus, we
have the term "gossip."

At local taverns, pubs and bars, people drank from pint and quart sized
containers. A bar maid's job was to keep an eye on the customers and keep
the drinks coming. She had to pay close attention and remember who was
drinking in "pints" and who was drinking in "quarts." Hence the term "minding
your "'P's and Q's."

When a soldier needed to repair his gun, he would sent a request to supply
for a barrel or a stock or a lock, depending on what was broken. If he needed
an entire new gun, he would ask for a Lock, Stock and Barrel. Thus, if we say
they are moving lock, stock & barrel we mean they are moving everything.
Bet You Didn't Know