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November 3, 2017

Strange But True!

Q. Shanghai (China), Barbados (Caribbean), Soloi (Athenian colony, Cilicia), Buncombe County (North Carolina): All are colorful, distinctive places lending their names to verbs. Can you name and define any of them?

A. The verb “shanghai” suggests the meaning, to kidnap men to work on ships, says Anu Garg on his “A.Word.A.Day” website. Since China was often the destination for these ships, Shanghai came to mean “to recruit forcibly.” In a similar vein, Barbados, formerly a British colony, became the verb “barbados,” “to forcibly ship someone to another place to work.” “Between 1640 and 1660, thousands of Irish people were sent by the British as indentured servants to work in Barbados and elsewhere in the Caribbean.”

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