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  1. #1

    Three number questions

    Dear Teacher:

    What do these two expressions mean, and from where did they originate?

    Fifth estate

    Third world

    Second City

    I've heard of a First World and a Third World, but never a Second World.

    I've heard of a Second City but never a First City.

    I've heard of a Fifth Wheel and a Fifth Column, but what is the Fifth Estate?

    Thank you.

    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 19,398

    Re: Three number questions

    Fifth Estate is relatively new and is linked to both political and internet usages. See here: oxford internet institute | webcast | Through the Network (of Networks) - the Fifth Estate

    Third World: The First World is old Europe; the Second World is the Americas; the Third World is any new [and by extension un/under-developed] lands.

    Second City is a nickname for Chicago. {Presumably the First City is New York City}

  2. Ouisch's Avatar
    Key Member
    English Teacher
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      • Native Language:
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      • United States
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    • Join Date: Mar 2006
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    Re: Three number questions

    Not to contradict, but according to my research, the person that coined the phrase "Third World" was French demographer Alfred Sauvy. At that time, he'd divided the globe into the First World, meaning the Capitalist nations, the Second World, which were the Communist nations, and the Third World, which were the rest, and mostly underdeveloped.

    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 19,398

    Re: Three number questions

    I think it's one of those phrases that have accrued a whole slew of possible origins, and I think too that Ouisch's research may have a better basis for acceptance

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