Origin of Phrases, 6
1. Cobweb: The Old English word for ‘spider’ was ‘cob.’
2. Riff-raff: The Mississippi River was the main way of traveling from north to south. River-boats carried passengers and freight but they were expensive so most people used rafts. Everything had the right of way over rafts which were considered cheap. The steering oar on the rafts was called a ‘riff’ and this transposed into riff-raff, meaning low class.
3. Ship state rooms: Traveling by steamboat was considered the height of comfort. Passenger cabins on the boats were not numbered. Instead they were named after states. To this day cabins on ships are called staterooms.