Sunday, October 26, 2008

Of words and phrases 1

1. This phrase came into existence in the US Air Force test pilot program of 1940’s which meant flying an aircraft at, or even beyond, its known or recommended limits. Which phrase?

2. In 18th and 19th century English literati started covering opium users extensively in their works. The opium users used to smoke opium through thin tubes. After this smoking they used to revel in neurotic delusions.
A word in English captures this situation. Which word (or phrase)?

3. Which phrase originates from the British Military practice of playing the drums when someone was court marshaled?

4. This word originates from a means of punishment in use in 16th century, by which people were tortured or ridiculed. Victims were held by having their ankles, and occasionally the wrists too, trapped in holes between two sliding boards. The punishment, although not as harsh as the pillory, in which people were confined by the neck, was severe and certainly not intended to be humorous.
Over the time this term has taken a humorous connotation. Which word (or phrase)?