The origins of “V for Victory!”

Almost everyone is familiar with the phrase “V for Victory” and the two-fingered V-for-victory hand gesture popularized by Winston Churchill during World War II. But few people today are aware of their origin. The use of “V” as a symbolic message of defiant resistance to tyranny was first proposed by Victor de Laveleye, a member of … Read more

Blood, sweat and tears — and toil…

Almost everything most people know about the origin of the phrase “blood, sweat and tears” is wrong. Some people think Winston Churchill coined it in the famous speech he gave to the British House of Commons on May 13, 1940. But, in fact, Churchill didn’t coin the phrase. Nor did he say it in that … Read more

“Business as usual”

It’s not uncommon to see credible sources claim that the phrase “business as usual” was coined by Winston Churchill. For example, a glossary of World War I words and phrases on the BBC website says: “Business as Usual: Phrase coined by Churchill to suggest how British society should react to the wartime situation.” Even some … Read more

The origins of “Rum, sodomy and the lash” – Churchill’s alleged quip about British naval tradition…

Many books of quotations include a caustic quote attributed to Winston Churchill (1874-1965) in which he supposedly called British naval tradition nothing but “rum, sodomy, and the lash.” (Sometimes given as “rum, buggery and the lash,” using the old British slang term “buggery” to refer to homosexual sex.) The earliest source commonly cited for this … Read more