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Where’d we get a word like skyscraper? Martha explains the image literally refers to scraping the sky, but first applied to the topmost sail on a ship, and later to tall horses, and high fly balls in baseball. There are similar ideas in other languages, as in the Spanish word “rascacielos” and French “gratte-ciel.” In German, the word is picturesque as well. It’s “wolkenkratzer,” which literally means “cloud-scratcher.” This is part of a complete episode.

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