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A group of Thuggees strangling a traveler on a highway in India in the early 19th century. Source: Public domain

Thuggees – The Cult Assassins of India

Thuggees, from the Sanskrit word meaning “concealment”, were an organized gang of professional assassins – sometimes described as the world's first mafia – who operated from the 13th to the 19th...
While the term freelancer was coined in the 19th century, freelancing mercenaries have been a reality of warfare throughout history. In the image, tournament lancers from the Album of Tournaments and Parades in Nuremberg. Source: Met Museum / Public domain

The Word ‘Freelancer’ Originates with Medieval Mercenaries

Even though the word freelancer often feels omnipresent, very few know its etymology. In fact, freelancers have been around for a long time. The word freelancer has been traced back to Sir Walter...
The word 'happy' has Old Norse origins

Talk Like a Viking! 10 Everyday English Words with Old Norse Origins

Did you know that many words we use today such as “husband,” “happy,” and “egg” are of Old Norse origin? No? Well, this isn’t surprising, as in the minds of many people the Vikings were nothing but a...
Vintage magic book. Abracadabra used to be written and used as a talisman.

Say the Magic Word: The Origins of Abracadabra

Magic words are often used by magicians whilst performing magic tricks on stage. One of the most common of these incantations is ‘Abracadabra’. Although this word is known to many, it is likely that...
The Sorceress by John William Waterhouse

The Enchanted Sex-Word of Scotland’s Secret Seduction Society

Seduction, the most noble art. History books across the planet reveal the carnal activities of an endless number of femme-fatals, causing nations to collapse and dynasties to crumble. In Ancient...