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Terms of Two-or-More Words

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Dead Ringer
Pork Barrel Politics
Quid Pro Quo
Semper Fi
True Blue

Dead Ringer-  As you know, a dead ringer is an exact look-alike for someone or something.  How did this term come about?  From the horse tracks!  A "ringer" is a "substituted racehorse".  Dishonest racehorse owners will have a fast racehorse and a slow racehorse, both of which look exactly alike!  In this context, "dead" means abrupt or exact.  So a "dead ringer" is a phenomenal look-alike!

Pork Barrel Politics-  This saying has its origins in American pre-Civil War times and is based upon the practice of distributing salt pork to slaves from huge barrels.  By 1870, five years after the Civil War, congressmen regularly said that they would dip into the "pork barrel" to obtain funds for popular projects in their home districts.

Quid Pro Quo-  Just what the heck does "quid pro quo" mean?  It means "this for that" and comes from Latin.  Quid pro quo is a fast favor.  You can also think of it as meaning "something for something", "one thing for another", etc.  The word "quip" is short for "quid pro quo".  Many times you will hear people say "quip pro quo", but the correct term is "quid pro quo".

Semper Fi-  This term, popularly used by U.S. Marines, is an abbreviated version of the term "Semper Fidelis" which in Latin means "always faithful".

True Blue-  To say someone is "true blue" means that said person is loyal and always faithful to a person and/or a cause.  This expression seems to have come from more than one source.  One theory is that it originated in the 16th century with Scottish Presbyterians who adopted blue as their official color.  Though they were under constant persecution for many years, they were loyal to their religious beliefs.  These Presbyterians were called "true blue".

    A second theory to the origin of "true blue" comes from the British Navy.  When England was ruled by Queen Elizabeth I, the sailors wore coveralls, while sailing, to protect their uniforms.  These coveralls were a special shade of blue that blended with the blue of the sea to act as camouflage against potential enemies.