Questions You’ve Always Wanted To Know The Answers To | The Daily Dust delivering the best bric a brac, daily news and events with a British flavour

Ever wondered why you only feel sick when sitting in the back of a car or whether chewing gum does stay inside you for years, the answers are now published in a new guide

What is ‘OK’ short for?

The most popular theory is that OK comes from “oll korrect”, a deliberate misspelling of “all correct”. It comes from Boston newspapers in the 1840s when it was fashionable to spell things incorrectly for humorous effect.

Does chewing gum really stay inside you for years?

No. Chewing gum is indigestible but it doesn’t have any magic property that allows it to escape the normal digestive transit. Three days is the usual limit.

Why is sea air good for you?

It isn’t, particularly. In Victorian England, seaside resorts got a reputation for having healthy air – maybe in comparison to the era’s city smogs.

The seaside’s “bracing” smell is caused by a chemical produced by coastal bacteria, present in very low concentrations. But a study last year found that sea salt can react with chemicals in marine exhaust fumes to worsen the atmospheric pollution in a busy port.

Is talking to yourself a sign of madness?

No. The phenomenon known as “private speech”, in which people talk aloud to themselves when stressed or alone, is perfectly normal.

Why do I get more car sick in the back?

It’s probably because you don’t have such a good view of the horizon. Motion sickness occurs when the balance mechanism in your ear registers movement while your eyes are telling you that you are stationary.

Do dock leaves sooth nettle stings?

No. This myth arose from parents’ desire to find something nearby with which to placate a stung child.

Do hot drinks cool you down?

Yes. They make your body think you are hotter than you really are so you sweat more and that leads to heat loss.

More Questions can be found in the 101 Greatest Questions of All Time in the March issue of BBC Focus – , on sale now, £3.60. Find out more at

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