Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Why is it a not a teethbrush?

I was net-hopping when I came across this statement - "Toothbrush was invented in Kentucky. If it was invented in any other place, they would have named teethbrush"

I did get a chuckle out of this. curiosity...Sometimes it doesn't listen to me. And I become a slave of my inquisitive mind. Immediately, the curiosity in me took me under control and I involuntarily surrendered to my thought process, digging on the Internet for a possible relation between Kentucky and Toothbrush.

First, I began searching on who invented the toothbrush. I got information on how twigs, miswak, roots etc were being used. The Chinese invented the modern toothbrush in 1400s, the first mass-production of toothbrush in England in 1700s. Then I came across a snippet about first US patent for toothbrush was awarded to H.N Wadsworth in 1857.

So there I thought I got a lead. I checked if Wadsworth belonged to Kentucky, no leads. I did read some interesting funny thoughts about why its called a toothbrush and not a teethbrush even though we have teeth.
Few ideas were like "The person who invented it had just one tooth". "People were so unhygienic in older times that they had just one tooth left over or mostly toothless"....and so on.

I still didn't get an idea as to why Kentucky. There were similar statements that I came across on the Internet but this time replaced with Arkansas and then one more with Tennessee. Check the below link.

"Toothbrush was invented in Arkansas. If it was invented in any other place, they would have named teethbrush"

"Toothbrush was invented in Tennessee. If it was invented in any other place, they would have named teethbrush"

"Toothbrush was invented down south. If it was invented in any other place, they would have named teethbrush"

Now what is common between Kentucky, Arkansas, Tennessee? My curious nature just could not stop and there I go Google Maps.
I see all these states are in south-east of USA. So those statements were actually a mockery of the intelligence of the people down south? I don't know!!

Whatever....after probing..I got the right answer, and here I am putting it in simple words.

The word is made up of two nouns - "tooth" and "brush"; thus its an compound noun; but the two words are written together. The first word "tooth" describes the second word "brush" and it gives a character to the second word.

The first word "tooth" thus acts as an adjective and becomes an "attribute noun". As it acts as an adjective, it follows the

* Gives importance to the TYPE of element its relating to rather than "NUMBER".

E.g . shoe rack, footrest, toothpaste, nail enamel, hairbrush......

Tell me I am not crazy :-|


  1. you ain't crazy at all re is obvious that one gets such curiosity..and kya information hai re..too good...I am quite impressed by your studies btw..

    very informative post..I never wondered nor knew these things..

    PS: you are super crazy :-P

  2. after checking that link - take a bow..what research re..too good :)

    loved those comments..they were hilarious :D

  3. no doubt aftr this people will start dump their queries at your blog. at least they will get an answer.

    Nice post indeed!

    Keep it up girl!

    Keep Smiling!

  4. am thinking of actually taking up my job offer.vela vetti llatha mathiri therithu.anyway this is gethu.ivlo chinna matter piandi invlo research ah?ithu mathiri vera yethavuthu

  5. You are crazy for sure !! Because only crazy people make history and you are going to make a mark !! :)

    What an information ! Now that I'm also loaded with this info I'll ask pals and [of course] when they will not know the answer I'll flaunt my knowledge :P

    All credits to you :)

  6. Wowow TUSIN GREAT HON.. oh boy, What a research.. should have done a PHD or something.. I cant beleive and there i thought you were saying a couple of days ago you are soooooo busyyyyyyyyyyy :)

    But your enlish version went OHT .. over head transmisson.. U need to be a teacher ....

  7. Hi!

    Your tenacious research was impressive!

    This (of "tooth" in 'toothbrush') is an oft-asked doubt. I'd wondered a few times, but never tried to know the grammar involved behind it. I still can't claim I could understand what you've paraphrased, but I anyway thought it's sort of like paintbrush (instead of paintsbrush) and toolbar instead of (toolsbar). :D

    And as to you whether you're crazy or not, depends upon what you want to hear! ;) It seems you want to hear that you're crazy, so here I say it - "you are crazy". And no, no need to return the compliment! A hearty thanks would suffice. :P


  8. totally crazy!

    and in serious need to a Dentist if not a Psychiatric!


    baby show me your teeth!

  9. C- Curious
    R- Researcher
    Y-Yanking them by the neck

    May you be crazier than ever before. And the hint why all the southern states were referred to that many years ago needs little imagination from your crazy intelligent brain.

  10. No,you are not crazy,you are a research scholar of sorts.
    Incidentally,why toothbrush and why not ...whatever?
    You may have a problem with some people like me.Since my English is Hinglish,I may refer some of my problems to you for research.
    Great post--very imaginative and informative.

  11. Grey matter... you have a lot it . Loved the grammar explanation too.

  12. Gee!! You could have as well gone ahead and done a Ph. D on this. :P

    Teethbrush, Hairsbrush, Paintsbrush. Oh thank you Kentucky!

    P.S: By the way I didn't get all the grammar mumbo jumbo - not surprising, considering I was never the English teacher's pet. Getting clarification from a KFC guy would be a lot easier.

    Me: "Dude, your bloody chicken is lodged in my teeth. Any idea which teethbrush would be good?"

    KFC dude: "Oh no, sir. It is not teethbrush, it is toothbrush"

    Me : "Aha? Tell me about it..."


  13. Very thought provoking philosophical question. I am glad the answer came from learned and knowledgeable person like you. I have other similar questions if you can enlighten us:

    We have more then one hair but still call hair brush. Why?

    A single pant is called "pair" of pants. Why?

    Why we drive on parkways and park on driveways?

    Waiting for the answers from Master Insignia.

  14. what an analysis girl... why not submit it as a thesis :P
    u definately would earn a PhD hehehe :)
    lovely post :D

  15. I smell a sinister plot to bring out your own brand of toothbrushes to be patented as teethbrush and market through this blog :D

  16. very interesting
    never thought about it

  17. Why do I have a feeling I have already read this post by you. Are you posting it again or have we talked about this?

  18. Crazy? Nooo..You are a smart miss!!:-) Fun post. I had had a discussion about this sometime back and so knew the final missing clue. But I did not know about those quotes related to SE Americans. Hahaha:-D

    Thank U for such an interesting post!! I shall read the link too.

  19. Your blog is becoming like a mini encyclopedia. :)
    Didn't know so many things about too(ee)th brush.
    And tooth brush was invented in Kentucky? I thought only fried chicken was invented there. :D
    Thoroughly researched post. Frederick Forsyth will be proud of you. Hehehee.. :D
    Jokes apart, nice post yar. Probably I shall remember this every time I brush my teeth, well, I mean every day. ;)

  20. I believe you've written about this before:P

  21. Neha,

    :-) I am super crazy, thanks for the compliment.
    Thanks a ton...keep checking that link for updates :-)

  22. Makk,

    My pleasure to answer their queries if I know. Else would research again :-D
    Thank you

  23. soin,

    Dont be too positive huh....Its not all rosy :-P
    Vela vetti irukku pa...ithu roamba naal munnadi senja research.
    Hahahaha...chinna chinna matter thaana we tend to ingore and take for granted.
    Idhu maathiri I shall sure post :-D

  24. Nu,

    Hahahaha, thank you.
    Lol!! History is such a BIG word.
    Sure sure, please do that to as many people as possible and give them this trivia.
    And add feathers to your cap as well :-)
    My pleasure

  25. Bikram,

    Thanks ji. PHd in Toothbrush..yeah right!! I am so busy yes..this research was done quite few months back :-D
    OHT of English Grammar? Sad....
    And I a teacher...hmm nah bad idea. I dont have patience and I am short tempered. :-S

  26. Ketan,

    Welcome back.
    Hehehehe thank you. Its an Attribute Noun :-) Simple
    Lol!! Compliments to you - than you are super crazy.
    And yeah hearty thanks :-P

  27. Abhi,

    Thanks!!'s the teeth :-D

  28. Thank you Holy Lama for that elaboration of 'crazy'. does need some imagination..isn't it?

  29. Chowlaji,

    Thank you. Please share your research would go on :-)
    Thanks for the comments.

  30. Chitra,

    :-) Hopefully!! Thanks much, glad you liked it

  31. Parikshith,

    Ph D on this??? Hmm...Grammar is very simple...try it :-)
    Hahahaha...The KFC guy was smart you see...
    but ask someone what's the full form of KFC. not many would know it

  32. SG,

    Learned and knowledgeable? Me? No way!!!
    Common SG. No jokes please.

    Let me try to resolve your queries....some time later :-)
    Thank you

  33. Rajlakshmi,

    thank you. done some time ago.
    Thesis...can I? Which university? :-P

    Thanks much for the comments.

  34. Quest,

    You gave me an idea!!! Wow..I could do that!!

  35. Gautam,

    You have read it earlier. I just re-posted it. but didnt mention as a re-post as many would ignore.
    I wanted to share this information with wide audiences now; just took advantage of the fact that more people are visiting the blog as earlier :-)

  36. lostworld,

    Thanks much miss!! :-) Hope you got the final clue and the answer
    Hope SE Americans dont read this :-D

    Glad you liked it and my pleasure :-)

  37. Kish,

    I have written about this earlier. I am so happy that you could recall it.
    I just wanted to share this with the wider audience; as finding out why it is named thus really really excited me. And wanted more people to know and be excited as I was!!

    I didnt mention it as a re-post because the mere mention of it makes people lose interest.

    Hope its no harm :-)

  38. good info..I admire your knowledge quest.

  39. You aint crazy... You just are an unpolished genius or were in your last life! :D
    Good research! I'm sure you did this 'cause you had a lot of pending work to do!!

  40. wow!! very thought provoking.
    I am planning to sue all my teachers from LKG all the way to college for misleading information. you think earth is really tilted on its axis?>

  41. Guria,

    Hehehehehe...thank you..that was an unique compliment.

    Absolutely!! I did this as I had lots of work to do :-P

  42. Sorcerer,

    Thank you. Oh did they? Hmm do you think suing will be a good idea?

    Aaahaaa is the earth tilted on its own axis? Hmmm...Let me research on this :-P

  43. hahahah! i didnt know of all this yaar! a simple daatun is better :P
    no panga of noun and adjective ;D


  44. :-D Now you know!! AS
    But yes...ignorance is bliss :-D

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  46. toothbrush

    anyways, joke is on the non south-east states people.
    1) They don't know where toothbrush was invented
    2) They don't know grammar

  47. I still feel the neem twig or a mango twig is a better option for brushing.

  48. Hi Stupido,

    :-) Yup!! True..Does that include us?

  49. Haddock,

    Those are the best in fact. But how many of us go searching for those twigs now?

  50. @ Haddock and Insignia.
    In some places in north, as the train passes these railway stations, there are vendors selling neem twigs and this was a nice opportunity to brush with them again after a couple of years. Almost everyone in the bogie bought at least one of those twigs.

    @ Insignia (ha ha... how do you come up with these names. Insignia. Hmmm...)
    Hey, I am quite proud of myself to realise that I can make out when I see Insignia content! :-D

  51. Thanks Gautam :-)

    Insignia.....why all of a sudden the doubt?? Isnt it an attractive name...Insignia

  52. huh! so simple an answer at the end! gr8 work :)

  53. huh! so simple an answer at the end! gr8 work :) n u ain't crazy by any means!

  54. Rahul Gupta,

    Welcome to B Log :-)
    Thanks :) for saying I am not crazy :)

  55. Hey thanks. I was arguing with my work mates about this. and we decided to google it and found your blog. Very simple in the end.

  56. Lumbiwe,

    Thanks. I am glad you found your answer here in my space :)

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