Take It With A Gain Of Salt

Happy Friday!
This weeks fun phrase is ” Take it with a grain of salt”

Meaning: Be skeptical; examine it ( a statement or idea) carefully before you accept it.

History: The thought seems to be that a bit of salt makes food easier to swallow. It is old enough to have a Latin version.One of John Trapp’s commentaries on the Bible in 1647 carried the line: “This is to be taken with a grain of salt.”


Go Against The Grain

Happy Friday!
This weeks fun phrase is ” Go against the grain.”

Meaning: To take action that seems unnatural or illogical. It is hard work when you saw or plane a piece of wood against the “grain,” meaning the direction of growth of the tree from which the wood came. By extension, it means to do anything in a way that is unduly difficult or runs against ones instincts.

History: Shakespeare had an extended meaning in Coriolanus where the tribune Sicinius says:
Say, you choose him
More after our commandment than as guided
By your own true affections ; and that your minds,
Preoccupied with what you rather must do
Than what you should, made you against the grain
To voice him consul: lay the fault on us .


Mad As A Hatter

Happy Friday!!!
This weeks fun phrase is “Mad as a hatter.”

Meaning: Demented; zany; fey.

History:The Mad Hatter is a memorable character in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, but the expression is much older. It is thought to derive from the effect on felt workers of the mercury used in making felt hats; after some years many of them developed a tendency toward severe twitching. As early as 1837 Thomas Haliburton had the expression in The Clockmaker: “Sister Sal… walked out of the room, as mad as a hatter.”


Chase A Rainbow

Happy Friday!
This weeks fun phrase is ” Chase a rainbow”

Meaning: Pursue an illusion; venture on a fruitless quest.

History: Rainbows are real enough to the eye but unreachable, and people have been aware of that for centuries, but the notion of “chasing rainbows” as a way of describing a futile action seems not to have turned up until about 1904, when newspapers in the United States began using the expression to refer to footless political activities.


Not My Cup Of Tea

Happy Friday!
This weeks fun phrase is ” Not my cup of tea”

Meaning: A person, activity or proposal that doesn’t appeal to you or that you downright dislike.

History: One would suppose this was British and quite odd. Indeed, the British had the phrase “dish of tea” in the 17th century, always as something one enjoyed or looked forward to. The negative notion of something one doesn’t like seems quite recent. Sometimes, but less often, you hear the positive form: ” Now, that’s my cup of tea.”


Fun Phrase Friday: “Keep Your Fingers Crossed”

Happy Friday!
This weeks fun phrase is “Keep your fingers crossed.”

Meaning: To hope that something spoken, thought of or put in train will succeed, or nothing will happen to make it fail; wish me luck.

History: Making the sign of the cross to ward off danger or evil is an old superstition that probably was the origin of this saying, and so one would suppose the saying is quite ancient. It seems, however, to have become popular in England around 1920 and in the United States around 1930.

Fun Phrase Friday: Make A Mountain Out Of A Molehill

Happy Friday!!
This weeks fun phrase is, “Make a mountain out of a molehill.”

Meaning:To turn a minor issue into a major one; to make too much of a trifle.

History: The ancient Greeks said the same thing as ” to make an elephant of a fly,” and the french say ” To make a fly of an elephant.” The stretch in size from a “molehill” to a “mountain” is even bigger which is probably why the English saying got its start. That was at least 400 years ago, as shown by Nicholas Udallin his ( to use a much abbreviated title) Paraphrase of Erasmus (1548): ” The Sophistes of Greece coulde through their copiousness make an elephant of a flye, and a mountaine of a mollehill.”


Fun Phrase Friday: Walk The Plank

Happy Friday!!
This weeks fun phrase is ” Walk the plank!”

Meaning: Go to ones doom; be fired from ones job or ousted from a group.

History:It was a popular form of execution among pirates at the sea, particularly during the 17th century: A plank was put out from the deck, rather like a diving board, and the captive or the untrustworthy associate was made to walk to the end and keep going. It soon became a popular literary image. Sir Walter Scott used it in The Pirate (1822); “They should be made to walk the plank for their impudence.”

Fun Phrase Friday: “Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining”

Happy Friday!!!
This weeks fun phrase is “Every cloud has a silver lining”

Meaning: There’s reason for hope even in the bleakest situation.

History: As an observation the saying is sometimes unsupportable because the clouds are uniformly grey and lowering. Still, as an expression of hope it is old; John Milton had it in Comus (1634), wherein a woman lost in a wood takes hope in theses words:
” Was I deceived, or did a sable cloud turn forth her silver lining on the night?”


Fun Phrase Friday: Cry Wolf

Happy Friday!!
This weeks fun phrase is “Cry Wolf”
Meaning: Raise a false alarm : exaggerate a danger.

History: It comes from one of the fables of Aesop and many other compilers. As Aesop puts it:

A mischievous Lad, who was set to mind some sheep, used, in jest, to cry “Wolf! Wolf!” When the people at work in the neighboring fields came running to spot he would laugh at them for their pains. One day the wolf came in reality, and the boy, this time, called “Wolf! Wolf!” in earnest; but the men, having been so often deceived, disregarded his cries, and the sheep were left at the mercy of the wolf.


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