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12Nov

No 10 has done a 'U-turn' on school meals: where does the term come from?

The government’s reversal of policy on free school meals is just the latest in its long line of U-turns

The UK government made a “U-turn”, it was reported, when it agreed after all to extend free school meals, adding another letter to the very bad Scrabble rack representing its policy history. But why a “U-turn”?

The distinction between “u” and “v” as separate letters (they were the same in the Roman alphabet) dates only from the 16th century in Europe. In the early 19th century we hear of a lecture hall lit by gas from “u tubes”, which sounds rather modern. An 1825 medical text, meanwhile, refers to a “u-like” bone in the neck, the hyoid (literally, shaped like the Greek letter upsilon).

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