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Nugget of Knowledge: Phrases explained

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Why did we start saying "you have a frog in your throat?"

(WYTV) – You sound raspy; you’ve got a frog in your throat!

Why did we ever start saying that?

The expression “frog in your throat” doesn’t come from sounding like a frog because you have a cold or sore throat. It comes from an actual Middle Ages medical treatment for a throat infection.

Doctors believed that if they shoved a live frog head into a patient’s mouth, the frog would inhale the cause of the hoarseness into its own body.

It must have worked at least once. While the practice is long gone, the expression lives on.

When we say someone is three sheets to the wind, this person is really drunk.

What sheets are we talking about?

We control sailing ships with three kinds of ropes: “halyards,” “lines” and “sheets.”

The ropes that control the sails are the sheets. If one is loose, the sails will flap in the wind.

If two sheets are loose, the ship becomes unsteady.

“Three sheets to the wind,” and the ship is veering off course like a drunken sailor.

Why do we turn our clocks ahead, or back, at two in the morning?

You can thank the railroads for that.

When the country first experimented with Daylight Saving Time in 1918 during World War I, no trains left New York City, the largest terminal in the country, at 2 a.m. on a Sunday.

So Sunday morning at 2 would interrupt train travel the least around the country.

Why did we stay with 2 a.m?

Most bars and restaurants are closed by then, and early shift-workers won’t be awake yet. It’s a pretty quiet hour everywhere, so it disappears in the spring and reappears in the fall.

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