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The action in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, takes place not in midsummer, but in the spring.

Cellophane isn’t made of plastic as many believe, but from shredded and aged plant fibers.

The French Horn isn’t French. It’s German.

Most people believe fajitas are of Mexican origin. Actually, most Mexicans don't know what a fajita is—which makes sense, because the food originated in France.

When in England, you’re likely to see establishments with names like "Ye Olde Tea Shoppe." Most folks pronounce "ye" as "yee," however, it should actually be pronounced like "the." The first letter is not a "y" but a loose rendition of the Old English character "thorn." The thorn is no longer in use, but was represented by a character similar to "y."

Contrary to popular belief, Man is not the world's largest polluter. A single volcanic eruption causes many, many times more atmosphere-depleting pollution than we have throughout human history.

Russian dressing isn’t Russian. It was first made in America.

Francis Scott Key, the man who wrote "The Star-Spangled Banner," wasn’t a songwriter—he was a lawyer. (And he didn't write the music, just the lyrics—the music was actually an old drinking song.)

Guerilla warfare has nothing to do with the animals—gorillas. "Guerilla" comes from the Spanish, and means "little war."

Neither Florida nor Texas is the most southern state in the U.S. Hawaii is the southernmost U.S. state.

Jesus' mother, Mary, was not the first woman to give birth as a virgin. According to dogma, Zoroaster's mother achieved this same feat 500 years earlier.

saluki.jpg (3897 bytes)Despite what you might think, greyhounds aren’t the fastest-running dogs. Salukis are faster. (Pictured, right.)

Cold showers actually increase sexual arousal, despite that’s commonly believed.

Toadstools have nothing to do with toads. The fungi gets its name from the German tod and stuhl, meaning "death stool," referring to the poisonous nature of this mushroomlike plant.

"Hail to the Chief," the well-known song played for U.S. Presidents, isn’t an American song. It was written in England by Sir Walter Scott and James Sanderson.

Ocean water isn’t blue. Or green. Or any other color, for that matter. It’s clear. Oceans look blue or green because of the reflections from the sky above or the vegetation below.

Hong Kong isn’t a city. The city on Hong Kong island is actually named Victoria.

Piggy banks weren’t named after pigs, but rather, after a kind of clay. That clay was called pygg, originally used to make jars in which people saved money. In time, they were made in the shape of pigs.

Though beavers live near rivers and lakes, they don't eat fish.

There is no such thing as "paper mache." No matter what you’ve heard, the material (paper or paper pulp combined with a mixture of water and flour or glue) is actually named papier-mâché.

Pirates didn’t make people walk the plank. That convention didn’t exist before an 1887 Harper’s Monthly illustration by pirate enthusiast Howard Pyle.


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