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Wacht am Rhein

Wacht am Rhein (Watch on the Rhine) is a German national song written in 1840

by Max Schneckenburger and composed in its popular form in 1854 by Karl

Wilhelm. It was the battle-song of the german army in 1870 to 1871.


Wad is a hydrated manganese dioxide, occurring in brownish black, earthy

masses. It is used as a pigment and was formerly used in the preparation of



A wadi is an irrigation canal found in Arab countries.


Prior to gummed envelopes, wafers were adhesive disks used for securing

letters. Common wafers were made of fine flour, which was pressed between two

heated plates of smooth iron. Transparent wafers were made of isinglass or



Waifs are goods thrown away by a thief in his flight.

Waiting for Godot

Waiting for Godot is a play by Samuel Beckett written in 1953. It was Beckett's

first stage success, and is an absurdist comedy about two men endlessly waiting

for someone named Godot to arrive.


Waits were street musicians. They were an established institution during the

17th century, wearing 'waits badges' with the twon arms. Those of Exeter

existed as early as 1400. Their instruments (hautbois) were also styled 'waits'

and the same title was extended to the night guard of the city of London.


A wake is the practice of watching round a corpse before it is buried.


Wall-paper was introduced into Europe around 1555 from China and Japan by the

Dutch and Spanish and slowly replaced tapestry, stamped leather and other mural

hangings as the prdominant wall covering coming into general use around 1830.

Wallace's Line

Wallaces' Line is a biological dividing line passing north-north-east between

the East Indian islands of Bali and Lombok and Borneo and Celebes, to the west

of which the flora and fauna are distinctly Asian in character, while to the

east and south the Australian elements begin to be marked, and very soon become

predominant. It was named after the biologist Wallace who clearly defines it in

his book 'Island Life' published in 1880.


The waltz is a dance of uncertain origins. It was introduced into France from

Germany in 1795 and reached England in 1812.


The wampum is a broad belt formed of strings of shells and worn as an ornament

or girdle by North American Indians. The name was also given to the interior

parts of the clam shell which was used as currency amongst some Indians.


Warp threads are the parallel threads which traverse a loom from end to end.


Warping is a mode of increasing the fertility of land along the banks of rivers

liable to overflow by allowing them to deposit their mud, called 'warp', upon

the surface overflown.


Wassails was a festival occuring on New Year's Eve in England. The wassailers,

usually the younger men and women of the village, went round to all the houses,

singing and mumming and wherever they stopped the inhabitants refreshed them

with food and drink before they continued on their way. It was originally a

fertility festival to promote good crops in the coming year, with the

wassailers visiting all the fields and orchards where they sang invocations and

poured mead. Wassails eventually died out after the 17th century.


Water is a liquid oxide of hydrogen. It exists in nature as solid ice or snow;

in the liquid form in oceans, lakes, streams; and as a vapour in the

atmosphere. As a true vapour it is invisible, but condensing becomes visible as

mist, fog, cloud, rain or dew. In addition water is contained within the earth

in enormous quantity; and the underground water is a great store which we use

when it issues in springs or which can be reached in some cases by wells and


Water of crystallization

In chemistry, water of crystallization is water present in the crystal of a


Water table

The water table is the level of ground below which the rocks are saturated with



Watergate was a political scandal in the USA resulting in the resignation of

president Nixon in 1974.

Watling Street

Watling Street is the old name for the Roman road from Dover to London, and

from London through St Albans to Shrewsbury and Chester.


Watlingstreet was a British Roman road extending from Dover, through London, St

Albans, Dunstable and Towcester into north Whales with a branch extending to



Wax is a solid fatty substance.


Weaving is the art of interlacing yarn threads or other filaments by means of a

loom, so as to form a web of cloth or other woven fabric. Two sets of threads

are used which traverse the web at right angles to each other. The first set

extends from end to end of the web in parallel lines and is called the warp;

while the other set of threads crosses and interlaces with the warp from side

to side of the web and is called the weft.


Wednesday is the third day of the week.


The week is the period of seven days now universally adopted. It is of Hebrew

or Chaldaean origin. It is generally regarded as a memorial of the creation of

the world according to the Mosaic account. Dion Cassius attributes the

invention of the week to the Egyptians. The Ptolemaic arrangement of the

heavenly bodies, according to their distances from the earth, is Saturn (the

most distant), Jupiter, Mars, the sun, Venus, mercury and the Moon; and it was

a principle of the ancient astrology that these bodies presided in this

succession over the hours of the day. If the first hour be assigned to saturn,

the twenty-fifth or first hour of the next day, will fall to the sun; the

forty-ninth, or first hour of the second day will fall to the moon and so on.

from the Latin designations of the planets have been formed the modern names -

Saturday (Saturn), Sunday (Sol), Monday (moon), Tuesday (Tiu, the Saxon Mars),

Wednesday (Woden or Mercury), Thursday (Thor or Jupiter) and Friday (Frygga or



Weft are threads crossing from side to side of a web and interwoven with warp.


Welding is the process of joining two pieces of metal together by hammering,

pressure or fusion.


Weregild was the Anglo-Saxon money-value of a man's life. It varied in amount

and had to be paid by a murderer to the murdered man's relatives.


Westrumite was a road-dust preventing material composed primarily of petroleum

and ammonia. It was developed around 1900 in response to the spread of motoring

and the dust raised by cars using the roads.

White dwarf

A white dwarf is small hot star.

White Lead

White lead is a basic carbonate of lead once used as a pigment. The best

quality is prepared by the Dutch process, in which sheets or grids of pure lead

are placed in pots containing a little dilute acetic acid. A number of these

pots are stacked in a heap, surrounded by horse manure for several months. Lead

acetate forms and can then be converted into the basic carbonate. It went out

of fashion as a pigment due to its toxicity and high cost.

White Star Line

The White Star Line was a line of steamships owned by the Oceanic Steam

Navigation Company which was formed in 1869. The maiden voyage was bu the

Oceanic Liner which sailed to New York in 1871. In 1899 a Liverpool, South

Africa and Australia service was established. In 1902 the line launched the

Celtic II, which at the time was the largest steamer ever built at 20,904 tons.

White Tower

The White Tower is the keep of the Tower of London. It was built around 1070 by

William the Conqueror.

Whitley Councils

Whitley Councils were industrial committees set up in the early part of the

20th century in Britain to enable employers and employees to discuss problems

of mutual interest with a view towards avoiding strikes and lockouts. Neither

side was keen to make use of them, and they were abandoned in the late 1920s.

Today a similar service is provided by conciliation in the form of ACAS.


A wig (a contraction of periwig) is a covering for the head made from natural

or artificial hair attached to a foundation so as to imitate a natural head



A wigwam is the hut or dwelling place of the Indians of North America. It is

conical in shape, and is built of some light material such as the bark of

trees. Sometimes the skins of animals stretched across poles constitute a


Will's Coffee House

Will's Coffee House was a famous convivial resort in Russell Street at the end

of Bow Street in London. It was first called the Red Cow, then the Rose. Dryden

was the first to make Will's the resort of the wits of his time and it was for

long the open market for libels and lampoons. After Dyden's death in 1700 the

house was patronised by among others Pope. About 1712 the custom was

transferred by Addison to Batton's coffee house on the opposite side of the



Will-o'-the-wisp (Ignis Fatuus) is a pale flickering flame sometimes seen over



A winch is a machine, the essential part of which consists of a drum driven by

hand or powered through gearing, and used to receive a rope which is wound upon



A windmill is a machine for grinding corn, pumping water etc., deriving its

power from the pressure of the wind on its sails.

Window Tax

The Window Tax was an additional taxation levied in England in proportion to

the number of windows in a house. It was first levied in 1695 and abolished in

1851. To avoid the tax many people bricked up some of their windows.

Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle is a royal palace in Windsor, Berkshire, England. It was built

by William the Conqueror as a fortress and enlarged by Henry I who made it into

a palace. Henry III strengthened its fortifications and Edward III was born in

it and after his accession rebuilt and greatly enlarged the palace.


Winter is the coldest of the seasons. It is defined astronomically as beginning

in the northern hemisphere with the sun's entry into the sign of Capricorn,

around December 21st and ending with the vernal equinox.

Wintergreen Oil

see "Methyl salicylate"


see "Merry thought"


In their original sense the words 'witch' and 'wizard' denoted the possessors

of knowledge, or wise people. Much of the witchcraft of Europe was derived from

the science of the Magi, or the magicians of ancient Chaldaea and Persia.

Original witchcraft was both a science and a religion, hence leading to its

persecution. In early Hebrew enactments against witchcraft it is evident that a

struggle existed between conflicting sets of ideas, and this struggle continued

in Christian times resulting in the persecution of the science as well as the

religion and to the perversions that exist today, for example much herbalism is

the scientific aspect of 'witchcraft', but much has been forgotten. It is

likely that the struggle was predominantly one for power over the people - an

ignorant or unwise people are easier to exploit by priests than a people well

educated in the ways of science and nature.


Wolfram is another name for the element tungsten.


Wolframite is the most important tungsten ore. It has a relative hardness of 5.

Wood pitch

Wood pitch is a by-product of charcoal manufacture, made from wood tar, the

condensed liquid produced from burning charcoal gases. The wood tar is boiled

to produce the correct consistency. It has been used since ancient times for

filling in the spaces between the hull planks in wooden ships to make them


Wood's Metal

Wood's metal is a fusible alloy consisting of 50 per cent bismuth, 25 percent

lead, 12.5 per cent tin and 12.5 per cent cadmium.


A woodwind instrument is one with which sound is produced by blowing into a



Wool is the fibrous covering of sheep.

WordPerfect Office

WordPerfect Office is a groupware computer program. It is a network version of

WordPerfect Library. Office's calendar facility is similar to an electronic

day-planner and displays a nine-week calendar with appointment list,

prioritised to-do list, and memo window. To aid in group timemanagement, the

program.s scheduler compares the calendars of each group member using Office,

and displays the possible times they are available. Once you select the time

and date of the group members you want to schedule appointments with, Office

notifies them. They can either accept, reject, or temporarily ignore the

notification; Office notifies the initiator of an acceptance. You can also use

Office to schedule resources such as conference rooms or slide projectors. The

electronic mail facility lets you send, receive, forward, reply, or print

messages to individuals or groups. The package provides automatic message

notification and lets you check the status of a message at any time. The shell

facility lets you switch from one program to another or transfer data between

programs. Office's work log lets you keep track of time and/or keystrokes used

on a particular project which is useful for client-billing procedures. Office

is set apart from other networking utility programs that offer only one or two

of its capabilities.


Wrestling is a form of combat contest between two opponents in which the object

is to grapple the opponent to the floor.

Writer's Cramp

Writer's Cramp is a spasm occuring chiefly amongst those who write much.

Similar spasms occur amongst piano players, violin players, tailors and others.

In its early stages it is a true cramp, but prolonged continuance of the

condition may result in scrivener's palsy or paralysis. With the advent of the

computer writer's cramp has become less common but has been replaced by

repetetive strain injury (RSI), which many may think is a new industrial

injury, in fact it has been a problem for more than a hundred years.


A wynd is a narrow street or passage off a main thoroughfare.


In heraldry, a wyvern (or wivern) is a device representing a monster whose fore

part is that of a dragon with legs and wings, and the hinder part is in the

form of a serpent with a barbed tail.

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