Bikini: Named after the site of atomic bomb testing
In the summer of 1946, the United States tested its new atomic bomb on the Bikini atoll in the Marshall Islands. At the same time, French swimwear designer Louis Reard decided he needed an attention-grabbing name for his two-piece swimsuit invention. Reard likely chose the term “bikini” because he believed the style would be just as explosive as the bombs that were tested on the island of their namesake. Check out these 10 famous phrases you never knew were trademarked.
Deadline: A Civil War threat
Now a synonym for “due date” or “time limit,” the word “deadline” was originally used much more literally. During the Civil War, prisoners at one camp were confined to a pen and surrounded by a “deadline”; so called because if a prisoner crossed it, he would be shot dead.
Run amok: From Malayasian warriors
To “run amok” is to “go wild.” The phrase originated in the 18th and 19th centuries, when European explorers to Malaysia caught wind of a Javanese and Malay warrior class called the Amuco. This group of fighters believed those who lost a battle and survived would be punished with dishonor and death. Unsurprisingly, this belief led to maniacal and frenzied fighting tactics. For western onlookers, to act with disregard for consequences was to “run amok.”