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[word-lover] Words and Their Stories 2009-02-22

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Now the VOA Special English Program Words And Their Stories.


   Some of the most exciting information comes by way of the "grapavine".  That is so because reports received through the "grapevine" are supposed to be secret. The information is all "hush" ,'hush". It was whispered into your ear with the understanding that you are not pass it on to others. You feeled honored and excited.  You are one of the special feel to get the information.  You can not wait. You must quickly to find other ears to pour the information into. And so, the information, secret as it is, begins to spread. Nobody knows how far.

The expression by the grapevine is more than 100 years old. 

 

The American inventor Sanmi F.Mores is largely responsible for the birth of the expression.  Among others ,he expolred the idea of telegraphy.  Sending messages over a wire by electricity.

When Mores finally completed his telegrahy instrument, he went before Congress to show that it  worked.He send a message over a wire from Washington to Baltimore. The messge was"what had God work". This was on May 24th, 1844.

 


Quickly companies began to build telegraph lines from one place to another. Man everywhere seem to be putting up poles with string-wire for carrying telegraphic messages.  The workmanship was poor and  wires were not put straight.

Some of the results looked strange. People say they look like a grapevine. A large number of telegraph lines were going in all directions. As quicked as the vines that grapes grow on.   

So was bone the expression by the grapevine. Some writers believe that the phrase would sooner disappeared will not for American civil war .Soon after the civil war began in 1861,Military  Commanders started to send battlefield reports by telegraphy. People began hearing the phrase by the grapevine to describe false as well as true reports from the battle field.  It was like a game. Was it true? Who said so?

Now, as in those far off civil war days, getting information by the grapevine remain something of a game. A friend brings you a bit of strange news ."No", you say, "it just can't be true, who told you?". Comes the answer, "i got it by the grapevine". You can not know how much if any of the information that comes to you by the grapevine is true of false.  Still, in the words of old Amrican saying, the person who  keeps pulling the grapevine shakes down atleast a few grapes.

You have been listening to the VOA Special English Program Words And Their Stories.

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