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All human sperm rotate their tails anticlockwise when swimming.

The Pink Fairy is a type of armadillo. The Green Fairy is a nickname for absinthe.

Tyrannosaurus rex (65 million years ago) is closer in time to us than to Diplodocus (150 million years ago).

Trinity College, Cambridge, has won more Nobel Prizes than the whole of Italy.

The constitution of the state of Texas allows employers to discriminate against atheists.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts

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Cantab [Noun.]


A graduate of Cambridge University; an abbreviation of Cantabrigian, meaning of, pertaining to or characteristic of Cambridge or its university.

“He smelled of cigarettes and whiskey, the smell of Cambridge and youth.” ― Lily King, Euphoria

Language and Culture


‘The Quakers rejected the use of you as a polite form of address, and preferred thou, which to them signalled intimacy and equality. By refusing to use you because they took it as a deferential form of address, the Quakers provoked hostility from others who regarded their behavior as a sign of contempt. The repercussions of such deviant usage were severe for some Quakers such as Richard Davis, who reported that when he addressed the lady of the house in which he worked as thou, “she took a stick and gave me such a blow upon my bare head, that made it swell and sore for a considerable time. She was so disturbed by it, that she swore she would kill me.”

Romaine (2000)’

– Yule, G. 1985. The Study of Language Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press (2010) p. 266

Discourse Analysis


‘There’s two types of favors, the big favor and the small favor. You can measure the size of the favor by the pause that a person takes after they ask you to “Do me a favor.” Small favor – small pause. “Can you do me a favor, hand me that pencil.” No pause at all. Big favors are, “Could you do me a favor …” Eight seconds go by. “Yeah? What?”

“… well.” The longer it takes them to get to it, the bigger the pain it’s going to be.

Humans are the only species that do favors. Animals don’t do favors. A lizard doesn’t go up to a cockroach and say, “Could you do me a favor and hold still, I’d like to eat you alive.” That’s a big favor even with no pause.

Seinfeld (1993)’

– Yule, G. 1985. The Study of Language Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press (2010) p. 141

Metonym‏ [Noun.]


‘The relatedness of meaning found in polysemy is essentially based on similarity. The head of a company is similar to the head of a person on top of and controlling the body. There is another relationship between words, based simply on a close connection in everyday experience. That close connection can be based on a container-contents relation (battle/water, can/juice), a whole-part relation (car/wheels, house/roof) or a representative-symbol relationship (king/crown, the President/the White House). Using one of these words to refer to the other is an example metonymy.’

– Yule, G. 1985. The Study of Language Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press (2010) p. 121

Polysemy‏ [Noun.]


‘When we encounter two or more words with the same form and related meanings, we have what is technically known as polysemy. Polysemy can be defined as one form (written or spoken) having multiple meanings that are all related by extension. Examples are the word head, used to refer to the object on top of your body, froth on top of a glass of beer, person at the top of a company or department, and many other things.’

– Yule, G. 1985. The Study of Language Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press (2010) p. 120

Homophone‏ [Noun.]


‘When two or more different (written) forms have the same pronunciation, they are described as homophones. Common examples are bare/bear, meat/meet, flour/flower, pail/pale, right/write, sew/so and to/two/too.’

– Yule, G. 1985. The Study of Language Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press (2010) p. 120

Homonym‏ [Noun.]


‘We use the term homonyms when one form (written or spoken) has two or more  unrelated meanings, as in these examples:

bank (of a river) – bank (financial institution)
bat (flying creature) – bat (used in sports)
mole (on skin) – mole (small animal)
pupil (at school) – pupil (in the eye)
race (contest of speed) – race (ethnic group)’

– Yule, G. 1985. The Study of Language Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press (2010) p. 120