Winged word

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Georg Büchmann's Geflügelte Worte, 12th Edition, 1880

Winged words are words which, first uttered or written in a specific literary context, have since passed into common usage to express a general idea—sometimes to the extent that those using them are unaware of their origin as quotations.[citation needed] The reference is to words, which having "taken wing" in this way, then fly from one person to another.

The expression—deriving from the Homeric phrase ἔπεα πτερόεντα (epea pteroenta)[1] and now itself an example of "winged words"—was first employed systematically in this sense by the German philologist Georg Büchmann in his book Geflügelte Worte (1864). It was later taken up by Thomas Carlyle in an essay about Walter Scott.

A[edit]

Abandon all hope[edit]

Dante's Gate of Hell by William Blake

Dante Alighieri passes through the Gate of Hell, on which is inscribed the famous phrase, "Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate" or "Abandon all hope, you who enter here".

Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho begins with the words “Abandon all hope ye who enter here”.

Achilles’ heel[edit]

An Achilles' heel is a fatal weakness in spite of overall strength. According to a myth arising later, his mother, Thetis, had dipped the infant Achilles in the river Styx, holding onto him by his heel, and he became invulnerable where the waters touched him -- that is, everywhere but the areas covered by her thumb and forefinger -- implying that only a heel wound could have been his downfall

All under heaven[edit]

All under heaven, or Under heaven (Chinese: 天下; pinyin: tiān xià) is a phrase in the Chinese language and a cultural concept in China. The Chinese character 天 means sky. 下 means under, down. 天下 together, literally means under the sky. The word 天下, besides the literal meaning, it is also taken by Chinese as the only way to refer to the whole world. Only in modern times has the term 世界 come into use to directly refer to the world. In ancient Chinese political thought, the Emperor of China would ideally rule All under heaven, that is, the entire world.

An eye for an eye[edit]

The phrase "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth",:a quotation from Exodus 21:23-27, expresses a principle of retributive justice also known as lex talionis (Latin for "law of retaliation").

Ash Heap of History[edit]

The phrase is also alternatively translated as "the dustbin of history." Originally used by Leon Trotsky in denunciation of the Mensheviks, it is also remembered when used by Ronald Reagan to decry Marxism and Leninism in a 1982 speech to the British Parliament.[2] Reagan specifically used the phrase because of its prior meaning to the Bolshevik Revolution.

Since that time it has been used by many people including Daniel Pipes referring to moderate Muslims relegating Islamism to the "dustbin of history,",[3] Peter Grier and Timothy Aeppel describing the US Army as relegating old military equipment to "the ash heap of history,"[4] and others.

B[edit]

Back to nature![edit]

"Retour à la nature!" (Back to nature!) is a phrase by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. To go back to nature means to restore to man the forces of this natural process, to place him outside every oppressing bond of society and the prejudices of civilization. It is this idea that made his thought particularly important in Romanticism

Big Brother is watching you.[edit]

"Big Brother" is a fictional character in George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, the enigmatic dictator of Oceania, a totalitarian state taken to its utmost logical consequence. In the society that Orwell describes, everybody is under complete surveillance by the authorities, mainly by telescreens. The people are constantly reminded of this by the phrase "Big Brother is watching you", which is the core "truth" of the propaganda system in this state.

Since the publication of Nineteen Eighty-Four, the phrase "Big Brother" has entered general usage, to describe any overly-inquisitive or overly-controlling authority figure or attempts by government to increase surveillance. The reality TV program Big Brother takes its name from Nineteen Eighty-Four and a similarly named figure is big mama — the informal name for the Internet censor on web boards in the People's Republic of China.

Blood, toil, tears, and sweat[edit]

The Blood, toil, tears, and sweat speech was a famous speech made by Sir Winston Churchill to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom on 13 May 1940. It was his first speech to the House after taking over as Prime Minister in the first year of World War II.

C[edit]

Can't see the forest [or woods] for the trees[edit]

Expression used to describe someone who is too caught up in details, of a task or a data set, to see the "big picture", as in simultanagnosia.

Carpe diem[edit]

Carpe diem is a phrase from a Latin poem by Horace (Odes 1.11). It is commonly translated "seize the day", though a more accurate translation might be "pluck the day". One interpretation of the phrase might be as an existential cautionary term, much like "eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die" with emphasis on making the most of current opportunities because life is short and time is fleeting. It has some connections with another Latin phrase, Memento mori.

Carthago delenda est[edit]

Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam ("Carthage must be destroyed") is a famous Latin phrase. The sentence was a clarion call in the Roman Republic in the latter years of the Punic Wars. Roman statesman Cato the Elder would always end his speeches with some variation of this expression, see Livy.

D[edit]

De mortuis nil nisi bonum[edit]

The Latin tag de mortuis nil nisi bonum dicendum est is usually shortened to de mortuis nil nisi bonum or sometimes just nil nisi bonum. It is variously translated as "No one can speak ill of the dead," "Of the dead, speak no evil," or, more literally, "Let nothing be said of the dead but what is good."

Déjà vu[edit]

The term "déjà vu" (IPA:/deʒa vy/) (French for "already seen") describes the experience of feeling that one has witnessed or experienced a new situation previously. The term was coined by a French psychic researcher, Émile Boirac, in his book L'Avenir des sciences psychiques (The Future of Psychic Sciences), which expanded upon an essay he wrote while an undergraduate French concentrator at the University of Chicago. The experience of déjà vu is usually accompanied by a compelling sense of familiarity, and also a sense of "eerieness", "strangeness", or "weirdness".

Deus ex machina[edit]

Deus ex machina is a Latin phrase that is used to describe an unexpected, artificial, or improbable character, device, or event introduced suddenly in a work of fiction or drama to resolve a situation or untangle a plot. In modern terms the deus ex machina has also come to describe a being, object or event that suddenly appears and solves a seemingly insoluble difficulty (e. g. the cavalry arriving). A classic example of this type of deus ex machina is Homer's Odyssey; a more contemporary example is Michael Crichton's The Andromeda Strain.

E[edit]

Et tu, Brute?[edit]

Et tu, Brute? is a Latin phrase that was, according to legend, the last words of Julius Caesar. In English, the sentence means "You too, Brutus?" or "Even you, Brutus?". It is sometimes translated word-for-word as "And you, Brutus?", but this translation is best avoided, as it can be misleading. The word Brute is pronounced in two syllables, approximately (IPA) [ˈbruːte]; it is sometimes spelled Brutè or Brutë to clarify this. The quotation is widely used in Western culture as the epitome of betrayal.

The phrase mistakenly appears to some to be in French, leading to its mispronunciation.

F[edit]

Fahrvergnügen[edit]

Fahrvergnügen was an advertising slogan used by Volkswagen in a 1989 U.S. ad campaign that included a stick figure apparently enjoying a drive. The simple style of the ads was widely parodied. The term means "driving enjoyment" in German (from fahren, "to drive", and Vergnügen, enjoyment), although this was rarely explained.

Faux pas[edit]

A faux pas (French for false step) is a violation of accepted, although unwritten, social rules. Faux pas vary widely from culture to culture and what is considered good manners in one culture can be considered a faux pas in another. The term comes from French and literally means "false step". However, it is a formal rather than everyday expression in French and does not generally have the figurative meaning used in English.

Femme fatale[edit]

A femme fatale is a stock character in European drama and a stereotype, usually of a villainous woman, who misleads and ensnares the hapless hero or other males in order to achieve some end they would not freely help her achieve. The phrase is French for "deadly woman", or "fatal woman." The femme fatale tries to achieve her hidden purpose by using her feminine wiles (beauty, charm, sexual skill); hence she is typically portrayed as exceptionally well-endowed with these qualities.

Fiat justitia ruat caelum[edit]

Fiat justitia ruat caelum is a Latin legal phrase, translating to "let justice be done, though the heavens fall." The maxim signifies the belief that justice must be realized even if the powerful are brought low and the foundations of the state are shaken. Attributed first to Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus (the father-in-law of Julius Caesar), it was popularized by William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield's decision in 1772 on the James Somerset case that led to abolition of slavery in England.

G[edit]

Give me liberty or give me death[edit]

Patrick Henry's "Treason" speech before the House of Burgesses (Dramatized)

"Give me liberty or give me death" is a famous quotation that occurred as the final closing from a speech made by Patrick Henry to the Virginia House of Burgesses in order to raise support for the American Revolutionary War.

Gott strafe England[edit]

During World War I, Gott strafe England was a slogan of the German Army. The phrase means "May God punish England". It was created by Ernst Lissauer (1882–1937), in his poem Hassgesang gegen England (lit. "Hate song against England", better known as "Hymn of Hate").

H[edit]

Habeas corpus[edit]

In common law countries, Habeas corpus, Latin for "you [should] have the body", is the name of a legal action or writ by means of which detainees can seek relief from unlawful imprisonment. The writ is often referred to in full in legal texts as habeas corpus ad subjiciendum. The name derives from Latin meaning "You may have a body". Blackstone cites the first recorded usage of habeas corpus in 1305, during the reign of King Edward I. However, other writs were issued with the same effect as early as the reign of Henry II in the 12th century. Winston Churchill, in his chapter on the English Common Law in The Birth of Britain, explains the process thus:

Only the King had a right to summon a jury. Henry accordingly did not grant it to private courts...But all this was only a first step. Henry also had to provide means whereby the litigant, eager for royal justice, could remove his case out of the court of his lord into the court of the King. The device which Henry used was the royal writ...and any man who could by some fiction fit his own case to the wording of one of the royal writs might claim the King's justice.

His Master's Voice[edit]

His Master's Voice, usually abbreviated to HMV, is a famous trademark in the music business, and for many years was the name of a large record label (though the expression and image is associated with RCA in the United States). The name was coined in 1899 as the title of a painting of the dog Nipper listening to a wind-up gramophone. The famous trademark image comes from a painting by English artist Francis Barraud, A.R.A. and titled His Master's Voice. It was acquired from the artist in 1899 by the newly formed Gramophone Company. According to contemporary Gramophone Company publicity material, the dog, a fox terrier called Nipper, had originally belonged to Barraud's brother Mark. When Mark Barraud died, Francis inherited Nipper, along with a cylinder phonograph and a number of recordings of Mark's voice. Francis noted the peculiar interest that the dog took in the recorded voice of his late master emanating from the trumpet, and conceived the idea of committing the scene to canvas.

I[edit]

I have a Dream[edit]

"I Have a Dream" is the popular name given to the historic public speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., when he spoke of his desire for a future where blacks and whites would coexist harmoniously as equals. King's delivery of the speech on August 28, 1963 from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was a defining moment of the American Civil Rights Movement. Delivered to over 200,000 civil rights supporters, the speech is often considered to be one of the greatest speeches in history and was ranked the top American speech of the 20th century by a 1999 poll of scholars of public address.

Ignorabimus[edit]

Ignoramus et ignorabimus, "We do not know and we shall never know", was the scientific slogan propounded by Emil du Bois-Reymond, summing up the mechanistic opposition to the incorporation of philosophical or metaphysical elements into the study of the brain's physiological operations. Contrary to this presumption, David Hilbert pronounced:

For the mathematician there is no Ignorabimus, and, in my opinion, not at all for natural science either. ... The true reason why [no one] has succeeded in finding an unsolvable problem is, in my opinion, that there is no unsolvable problem. In contrast to the foolish Ignoramibus, our credo avers:
We must know,
We shall know."

― David Hilbert, Königsberg, September 1930, spoken in opening address to the Society of German Scientists and Physicians

Iron Curtain[edit]

Iron Curtain in Germany

The "Iron Curtain" was the boundary which symbolically divided Europe into two separate areas from the end of World War II until the end of the Cold War. The term was coined by Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels and made famous by Winston Churchill.

There are various earlier usages of the term "iron curtain". An iron curtain, or eisener Vorhang, was an obligatory precaution in all German theaters to prevent the possibility of fire from spreading from the stage to the rest of the theater. In case of fire, a metal wall would separate the stage from the theater.

J[edit]

K[edit]

Kinder, Küche, Kirche[edit]

Kinder, Küche, Kirche [ˈkɪndɛɐ ˈkʏçə ˈkɪrçə], or the 3 K’s, is a German slogan translated “children, kitchen, church”. The 3K are mainly associated with the 1950s. It is vaguely equivalent to the English phrase Barefoot and pregnant. The expression was allegedly used by Kaiser Wilhelm II, describing women’s role in society in the 19th century. The words are sometimes written in varying orders (e.g. "Küche, Kirche, Kinder").

L[edit]

Labor omnia vincit[edit]

Labor omnia vincit is a common Latin phrase and the state motto of Oklahoma. It means "labor conquers all things". The phrase appears in Virgil's Georgics, Book I, in the form Labor omnia uicit improbus ("uphill work overcame all things"). The poem was written in support of Augustus Caesar's "Back to the land" policy, aimed at encouraging more Romans to become farmers.

Leave No Trace[edit]

Leave No Trace is a set of principles for participation in outdoor recreation and urban exploration that seeks to minimize the impact on the natural environment. Proponents of Leave No Trace believe that individual impacts caused by recreation can accumulate to degrade the land. Therefore, the Leave No Trace message encourages people who spend time in the out-of-doors to behave in such a way that they can minimize unavoidable impacts and prevent avoidable impacts. It is often summarized: "Take only photos, leave only foot prints."

Let's roll[edit]

The catchphrase "let's roll" has been used extensively as a term to move and start an activity, attack, mission or project. For a period of time after the attacks of September 11, 2001, the phrase in the United States came to symbolize heroism and initiative in a tough situation. "Let's roll" was in common use on 1950s and 1960s police television shows such as Adam-12 and (the original) Dragnet.

M[edit]

Make love not war[edit]

Make love not war was a phrase/slogan commonly associated with the American counterculture of the 1960s. It was used primarily by those who were opposed to the Vietnam War. The slogan was featured in John Lennon's 1973 song Mind Games.

Memento mori[edit]

Memento mori is a Latin phrase that may be freely translated as "Remember that you are mortal". It names a genre of artistic creations that vary widely from one another, but which all share the same purpose, which is to remind people of their own mortality. In ancient Rome, the phrase is said to have been used on the occasions when a Roman general was parading through the streets of Rome during the victory celebration known as a triumph. Standing behind the victorious general was a slave, and he had the task of reminding the general that, though he was up on the peak today, tomorrow was another day. The servant did this by telling the general that he should remember that he was mortal, i.e. "Memento mori." (It is possible that the servant said instead "Respice post te! Hominem te memento!" (Look behind you! Remember that you are but a man!) as cited by Tertullian in chapter 33 of his Apologeticus.)

Mission Accomplished[edit]

"Mission Accomplished" is a military phrase associated with completing a mission, is in recent years particularly associated with a sign displayed on the USS Abraham Lincoln as President George W. Bush addressed the United States on May 1, 2003.

N[edit]

Never mind[edit]

"Never mind" was a frequent exclamation of Emily Litella, a character played by Gilda Radner on Saturday Night Live. For instance, see Memorable Quotes from "Saturday Night Live" (1975). It is considered by some to be a shortening of "never you mind".

Nihil novi[edit]

Nihil novi is Latin for "Nothing new" (or "nothing of the new".) Nihil novi is a common term for Nihil novi nisi commune consensu ("Nothing new without the consensus of all"), a 1505 legal act of Poland, also known as "nothing about us without us". The phrase nihil novi is also used as short for the Latin phrase, nihil novi sub sole (sub sole nihil novi est) - Latin for "nothing new under the sun".

Nixon in China[edit]

Nixon meets with Mao in 1972.

The phrase "Nixon in China" is a historical reference to United States President Richard Nixon's visit to the People's Republic of China (P.R.C.) in 1972, where he met with Chairman Mao Zedong. A more explicit variant with the same metaphor is, "Only Nixon could go to China." Because Nixon had an undisputed reputation of being a staunch anti-Communist, he was largely immune to any criticism of being "soft on Communism" by figures on the right of American politics. The phrase "Nixon going to China" is thus an analogy which refers to the unique ability that hardline politicians have to challenge political taboos and third-rail issues. Only a proven hardline right-wing politician can succeed in challenging a conservative sacred cow, and vice versa for left-wingers.

Noblesse oblige[edit]

"Noblesse oblige" is generally used to imply that with wealth, power, and prestige come social responsibilities. The phrase is sometimes used derisively, in the sense of condescending or hypocritical social responsibility. The term has also been applied more broadly to those who are capable of simple acts to help another, usually one who is less fortunate. The first recorded use of the phrase was in Honoré de Balzac's book "Le Lys dans la vallée", written in 1835 and published in 1836. It was also recorded in an 1837 letter from F. A. Kemble: “To be sure, if ‘noblesse oblige,’ royalty must do so still more.”

O[edit]

Opium of the People[edit]

"Religion is the opium of the people" (translated from the German "Die Religion ... ist das Opium des Volkes") is one of the most frequently quoted (and sometimes misquoted as "opiate of the people") statements of Karl Marx, from the introduction of his 1843 work Contribution to Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right which was actually subsequently released one year later in Marx's own journal Deutsch-Französischen Jahrbücher—a collaboration with Arnold Ruge.

P[edit]

Pearls Before Swine[edit]

"Pearls Before Swine" refers to a quotation from the discourse on holiness, a section of Jesus Christ's Sermon on the Mount. The discourse argues that one should not cast pearls before swine nor holy things to the dogs. In Jewish culture of the period, as well as middle eastern culture in general, both dogs and pigs (swine) were badly regarded, as they ate scraps and carrion, and could sometimes be dangerous, pigs in particular being the quintessential example of a ritually unclean animal. There is some question as to whether there is something significant about the mention of pearls, at the time seen as an extreme luxury, or whether they are merely present as a token luxury. Pigs obviously would not appreciate the value of pearls and are likely to trample them underfoot, but this is true of many other luxuries as well, so several scholars think that the term pearls is actually an erroneous transcription, and that the original referred to a gold ring, since this would then imply that the phrase was derived from one of the proverbs of the Book of Proverbs (specifically 11:22). The phrase pearls before swine itself has since become a common expression for putting things in front of people who don't appreciate their value, and there have been numerous uses of the title in popular culture; there is a Pearls Before Swine comic strip, a Pearls Before Swine psychedelic American folk band, and Pearls Before Swine is an alternate title for Kurt Vonnegut's novel God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater.

Pecunia non olet[edit]

Pecunia non olet (Latin for "money does not smell") is a Latin saying. The Roman Emperor Vespasian introduced a urine tax on public toilets. When his son Titus criticized him, he supposedly pointed out that a coin did not smell, even though it came from urine (e lotio est). (Suetonius, Vesp. 23)

Q[edit]

Q.E.D.[edit]

Q.E.D. is an abbreviation of the Latin phrase "quod erat demonstrandum" (literally, "which was to be demonstrated"). In simple terms, the use of this Latin phrase is to indicate that something has been definitively proven. Q.E.D. is a translation into Latin of the original Greek ὅπερ ἔδει δεῖξαι (hoper edei deixai) which was used by many early mathematicians including Euclid and Archimedes. Benedict De Spinoza also makes extensive use of the abbreviation Q.E.D. in his various works.

Quo vadis?[edit]

"Quo vadis?" is a Latin phrase meaning "Where are you going?" It is used as a proverbial phrase from the Bible (John 16:5). The most famous use is in the Apocryphal Acts of Peter. It also is a novel by the Polish author Henryk Sienkiewicz.

R[edit]

Read my lips[edit]

Read my lips: no new taxes is a now-infamous phrase spoken by former American president and candidate George H. W. Bush at the 1988 Republican National Convention as he accepted the nomination. The phrase was written by speechwriter Peggy Noonan. The impact of the election promise was considerable, and many believe it helped Bush win the 1988 presidential election. Once he became president, however, Bush was pressured by Democrats and some Republicans to raise taxes as a way to reduce the deficit.

S[edit]

Seek truth from facts[edit]

Seek truth from facts (Chinese: 实事求是, pinyin: shí shì qiú shì) is a slogan in the People's Republic of China referring to pragmatism. Beginning in the late 1970s, it was promoted by Deng Xiaoping and is a part of the official ideology of Socialism with Chinese characteristics. The phrase means to look for economic and political solutions that have practical application rather than those based on political ideology (such as that of Mao Zedong).

Si vis pacem, para bellum[edit]

Si vis pacem, para bellum is a Latin quotation meaning, "If you seek peace, prepare for war". It was spoken by Roman military writer Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus. The saying is one of many from his work, Epitoma rei militaris, believed to have been written around the year 390 AD. This phrase has been used as a motto by German arms maker Deutsche Waffen und Munitionsfabriken (DWM), and is the source of the term "Parabellum" as applied to firearms and ammunition, such as the Pistol Parabellum (or Luger) and the 9×19mm Parabellum cartridge.

Sour grapes[edit]

Sour grapes is the false denial of desire for something sought but not acquired; to denigrate and feign disdain for that which one could not attain. This metaphor originated from the fable The Fox and the Grapes by Aesop, where the protagonist fox fails to reach some grapes hanging high up on a vine, retreats, and says that the grapes are sour anyway.

Swords to ploughshares[edit]

Let Us Beat Swords into Plowshares, a sculpture by Evgeniy Vuchetich

Swords to ploughshares is a concept in which military weapons or technologies are converted for peaceful civilian applications. The plowshare is often used to symbolize creative tools that benefit mankind, as opposed to destructive tools of war, symbolized by the sword, a similar sharp metal tool with an arguably opposite use. The common expression "beat swords into plowshares" has been used by disparate social and political groups. The term's origin is a number of biblical quotes:

  • Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say "I am strong."Joel 3:10
  • They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.Isaiah 2:4 & Micah 4:3

T[edit]

Tear down this wall[edit]

Tear down this wall is the famous challenge from United States President Ronald Reagan to Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall. There is disagreement as to the amount of influence, if any, which the challenge had, with some sources citing the subsequent fall as evidence that it was a turning point while others maintain that Reagan's speech was simply well-timed.

Think Different[edit]

Think Different was an advertising slogan created for Apple Computer in the late 1990s. It has been said that the phrase "Think Different" is grammatically incorrect[citation needed], and should be "Think Differently" instead. It is not incorrect if one views it as a statement not on how to think, but on what to think (as in "Think Green" or "Think Big"). "Think Different" also responds to the long-time IBM slogan "Think."

To be, or not to be[edit]

Garrick as Hamlet

To be, or not to be is a quote from Hamlet by William Shakespeare. The popular interpretation of the speech holds that it is a debate on suicide. Hamlet rather impersonally considers the attractions of death ("not to be"), which he likens to a sleep, over life ("to be"), whose pain seems unavoidable. But in the end he notes that the fear of possible suffering in the afterlife "that we know not of" (as opposed to the known evil that is life) tends to stop human beings from actively ending their existence.

The simplest summary of Hamlet's speech might read "Life is so wretched that suicide would be preferable---except that we're too afraid of what might come after death."

To err is human.[edit]

Errare humanum est.“ (To err is human.) is from Seneca the Younger. The full quote is "errare humanum est perseverare diabolicum": "to err is human; to persist is of the Devil".

Turn the other cheek[edit]

Turn the other cheek is a famous phrase taken from the Sermon on the Mount in the Christian New Testament. In Jesus' Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says:

"You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.' But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you."

(Matthew 5:38-42, NIV)

U[edit]

Upper ten thousand[edit]

The Upper ten thousand was a term used to denote Britain's ruling elite. The invention of this term was a response to the broadening of the British elite caused by the Industrial Revolution.

V[edit]

Veni, vidi, vici[edit]

Veni, vidi, vici is a famous Latin phrase coined by Julius Caesar in 47 BC; Caesar used the phrase as the full text of his message to the Roman senate describing his recent victory over Pharnaces II of Pontus in the Battle of Zela. Caesar's terse remark—translated as "I came, I saw, I conquered", or even "came, saw, conquered"—simultaneously proclaimed the totality of his victory and served to remind the senate of Caesar's military prowess.

W[edit]

We Shall Overcome[edit]

We Shall Overcome is a protest song that became a key anthem of the US civil rights movement. The song derives from a gospel song, possibly a 1903 song by Charles Albert Tindley of Philadelphia containing the repeated line "I'll overcome some day", but more likely a later gospel song containing the line "Deep in my heart, I do believe / I'll overcome some day." In Charleston, South Carolina in 1946, striking employees of the American Tobacco Company, mostly African American women, were singing hymns on the picket line. A woman named Lucille Simmons sang a slow "long meter style" version of the song, as "We'll Overcome". Zilphia Horton, a white woman and the wife of the co-founder of the Highlander Folk School (later Highlander Research and Education Center) learned it from her. The next year she taught it to Pete Seeger. Pete Seeger (or someone else, he himself isn't sure and writes that it may have been Highlander's Septima Clark) changed "We will overcome" to "We shall overcome"; Seeger added some verses ("We'll walk hand in hand", "The whole wide world around") and taught it to Californian singer Frank Hamilton, who taught it to Guy Carawan, who re-introduced it to Highlander in 1959. From there, it spread orally and became an anthem of civil rights movement labor union and activism. From 1963 on, the song was associated with Joan Baez, who recorded it and performed it at a number of Civil Rights marches and years later at the 1969 Woodstock festival.

Whore of Babylon[edit]

The Whore of Babylon rides the seven-headed Beast.

The Whore of Babylon is a city-state mentioned in the Book of Revelation in the Bible. She is associated with the Antichrist and the Beast of Revelation by connection with the kingdom with seven heads and ten horns.

She makes her appearance in Revelation chapter 17, in which she is described as:

"the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication." (Rev. 17:1-2 KJV)

She bears the title, "Mystery Babylon the Great, The Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth", and is described as being "drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus." (Rev. 17:5-6) Her apocalyptic downfall is prophesied at the hands of the kingdom with seven heads and ten horns.

Wind of Change[edit]

The Wind of Change speech was a historically-important address made by British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan to the Parliament of South Africa, on 3 February 1960 in Cape Town. The speech signified a major shift in British policy, leading directly to the British government granting independence to British territories in Africa. It also directly referenced an overt British disapproval with the South African apartheid policy and thus was not well received by its audience, something that garnered it significant press attention.

The speech marked the beginning of sweeping political changes on the African continent and the phrase (often misquoted as Winds of Change) has become a term for any major period of changes.

Wir sind das Volk[edit]

Wir sind das Volk! Heard chanted at the Montagsdemonstrationen (Monday Demonstrations) in Germany in 1989, the slogan was meant to emphasize the demonstrators' wish to be heard by the single-party government of East Germany. It translates "We are the people", and though these words and similar expressions have been used in other places and times, it is usually identified with the Reunification of Germany.

Writing on the wall[edit]

Rembrandt's 'Belshazzar's Feast' (1635) captures the scene of fear. (National Portrait gallery, London)

The writing on the wall (or sometimes 'handwriting on the wall') is an expression that suggests a portent of doom or misfortune. It originates in the Biblical book of Daniel—where supernatural writing foretells the demise of the Babylonian Empire, but it has come to have a wide usage in language and literature.

According to Daniel 5:1-31, during a drunken feast, King Belshazzar of Babylon takes sacred golden and silver vessels, which had been removed from the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem by his predecessor Nebuchadnezzar. Using these holy items, the King and his court praise 'the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone'. Immediately, the disembodied fingers of a human hand appear and write on the wall of the royal palace the words "MENE", "MENE", "TEKEL", "PARSIN" (or "UPHARSIN" in a slightly different interpretation of the word).

Despite various inducements, none of the royal magicians or advisors could read the text. While these words are Aramaic the actual writing system it was written in remains unknown. (It is assumed the writing itself was in Aramaic, but it is possible the words were written in a different, otherwise unintelligible script which Daniel was able to interpret). Finally the King sends for Daniel, an exiled Jew, taken himself from Jerusalem, who had served in high office under Nebuchadnezzar.

Y[edit]

¡Ya basta![edit]

¡Ya basta! is a phrase in Spanish roughly approximate to "Enough already!" in English. It has been adopted by several Latin American insurgent groups as an expression of affront towards issues that sparked the original dissent. Its adoption by the EZLN in Mexico as the movement's motto is exemplary of its popularity and ability to rally diverse ideologies under a common goal. Grammatically, there is little difference between ¡Basta ya! and ¡Ya basta!, and both are correct.

You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.[edit]

The French "Tu deviens responsable pour toujours de ce que tu as apprivoisé." (You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.) is taken from the The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's most famous novel, which he wrote while living in New York. The full quote is:

"Goodbye," said the fox. "And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
"What is essential is invisible to the eye," the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.
"It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important."
"It is the time I have wasted for my rose--" said the little prince, so that he would be sure to remember.
"Men have forgotten this truth," said the fox. "But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. You are responsible for your rose ..."

You forgot Poland[edit]

You forgot Poland is a catch phrase based on a statement by United States President George W. Bush concerning Poland's involvement in the Iraq War during the first presidential election debate on September 30, 2004, during the 2004 U.S. presidential race.

Z[edit]

Zugereister[edit]

In countries where German is spoken (basically Germany, Switzerland and Austria), a Zugereister (literal translation from German: "someone who has travelled here [and stayed]") is someone who, for whatever reason (job, marriage, free will), has moved to a different region and settled there for good. They will have no or hardly any difficulty communicating with the locals but will forever be recognized by their accent and regarded by them as "not one of us".

References[edit]

  1. ^ Homer's "winged words" in English translations from Pope (1715) to Jordan (2008)
  2. ^ Salisbury, Harrison (30 June 1985). "A Reagan Antecedent In Revolution". letter to the editor, New York Times. The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-02-13. 
  3. ^ Daniel Pipes. "A Million Moderate Muslims on the March" New York Sun. May 8, 2007
  4. ^ Grier, Peter; Timothy Aeppel (16 December 1988). "US Army consigns old weapons to the ash heap of history". article in the Christian Science Monitor. Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 2008-02-17.