Saturday, June 22, 2013

A possible answer to a bumpy question? from a curious investigator...

On the origins of the expression "bump of curiosity".

Dear Word Spy,

I'm thinking it might have origins in the study of phrenology, a pseudo-science popular in the mid nineteenth century, which involved mapping the exterior of the human skull, in an attempt to predict personality, intelligence, and possible criminal tendencies, plus identification before fingerprinting became widely used. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert actually had their children's skulls mapped. (Parssinen, T. M. (Autumn 1974). "Popular Science and Society: The Phrenology Movement in Early Victorian Britain"Journal of Social History.)


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