Nugget of Knowledge: Common phrases explained

Window of opportunity comes from NASA

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Today, we’ll explain the origin of a few well-known phrases.

“I’ll take a rain check.”: The phrase comes from baseball. If a game was rained out, you got a slip of paper entitling you to a refund or free admission at a later date.

The first reference comes from May, 1884 when the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported fans getting rain checks.

Today, when you say, “I’ll take a rain check to Jim Loboy’s party,” that means you’re definitely not going.

What’s “state-of-the-art?”

It first appears in print in 1889 as status-of-the-art. It becomes state-of-the-art in 1910, which meant literally that: art, as in a book of photographs.

Then in 1955, it becomes an adjective as in Jimmy’s state-of-the-art weather computers.

“Window of opportunity” is a tired cliche today that comes from rocket science, another tired cliche.

NASA used it to indicate the best time to launch its rockets. You didn’t want to miss your launch window if you wanted to reach your destination in outer space. Remember, everything is moving up there.

Today, we say Jimmy frequently misses his weather window, or talks way beyond the time his window should have closed.

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