Category Archives: Riddles

What a Buttload!

Now, now… if you thought I was going to be rude, you don’t know me very well.  While I am certain that the term “butt” has led to countless jibes and jokes down through the centuries, it is (among other things) in fact an English measuring unit for wine.  A Buttload of wine is a unit for liquids which contains 126 gallons (~476 litres) which is one-half tun (252 gallons / 953 litres), and equivalent to the pipe (the latter also referred to the large container used for storing liquids or foodstuffs; now we rather use the terms cask or vat).  That they needed a term for a unit of wine that massive may seem odd at first; but when you consider that the water they had to drink was the same water that flowed downhill from the landlord’s latrine, the cows in the pasture, and the washerwoman upstream, wine, beer and ale (depending on which harvest climate you lived in) was by far the safest thing to drink.  If wine was available in your area, it was stored in barrels and thus was drunk relatively young; also, to counter the effects of drinking it at every meal, wine was often diluted 4 or 5-to-1 with water; that took all of the buzz out of it (and added who knows how many bugs that they were drinking wine to avoid in the first place…).  Now you know.  What a buttload off my mind… I think it’s time for a glass of (undiluted) wine.

Treading Grapes.jpg


Originally Posted on History Undusted, August 2015


Filed under Etymology, History, History Undusted, Nuts & Bolts, Riddles

Saturday Riddle #1: A Five-Letter Word

Just for fun, I thought I’d toss you a riddle; try to figure out the answer without using a search engine!

Take away my first letter, and I still sound the same. Take away my last letter, I still sound the same. Even take away my letter in the middle, I will still sound the same. I am a five-letter word. What am I?

Write your guesses in the comments below, and I’ll give the answer in the comments tomorrow!  Have fun!



Filed under Humor, Riddles, Writing Exercise, Writing Prompt