Wednesday WOLF - Baker's Dozen

I'm such a big nerd that I tend to look up word origins in my spare time because I'm fascinated by our language. The odder the origin, the better. I've got a collection of random information in my brain that makes me an awesome Trivial Pursuit partner, but is completely useless when it comes to real world application. Like say, job applications.

I thought I'd share some of this random crap with you in the form of an acronym-ific series. I give you - Word Origins from Left Field - that's right, the WOLF. Er... ignore the fact that the "from" doesn't fit.

So many of the things we say make no sense. Take for example the term baker's dozen - which, if you don't know, actually means 13 of something, not 12.


Bakers were subject to pretty strict laws in medieval times, and sold their wares often not by the number but by the weight. In the year 1266 Henry III passed a law that established a correlation from the price of what to the price of bread. Bakers who short weighted their bread (by putting less actual wheat in it) could be fined, pilloried, or even flogged.

To avoid even the whiff of being guilt of such a thing, bakers would add an extra loaf to their dozen, nicely ensuring that the scale would save their skins.