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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

NAKED NEW

Naked-You're probably expecting this definition to be along the lines of "unclothed" and you'd be correct but the word naked goes so far beyond its primary, literal meaning. Why else would Women's Health magazine devote a whole issue to it featuring Sofia Vergara naked on the cover? Throughout its life span, the term has picked up plenty of idioms, ones that we automatically incorporated into conversations without a second thought. So in honor of the layers surrounding this intriguing word, Women's Health talked to Ben Zimmer, the language columnist for The Wall Street Journal, for the origins of four popular naked phrases:

Naked Truth
The Latin phrase nudas veritas meaning "candid truth," first surfaced around 20 B.C. in Horace's Odes. One of the earliest English-version examples was in the 15th century text, The Rolls of Parliament, to outline what a jury should consider to arrive at a verdict: straight facts.

Naked Eye
The 1600s ushered in technological developments galore, including the invention of the telescope. For the first time, people needed a way to describe sight unaided by any type of instrument and the same meaning remains four centuries later.

Naked To The World
This appeared in a 1658 Presbyterian text that insisted sinner's actions should be "laid plain" and exposed for everyone to see. Today, it's used less biblically to imply that someone is stripped won emotionally.

Naked Ambition
An 1860 book criticized Napoleon III for having this, citing his unhidden intention of going to war just for the sake of it. The phrase reappeared in 1980s newspaper headlines about Playboy models wordplay for baring one's body and ambition.

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