Archive for fun phrase friday

Born with a silver spoon

Happy Friday!!
This weeks Fun Phrase is ” Born with a silver spoon in his mouth.”

Meaning: He got his wealth from inheritance rather than working for it.

History: It is an old tradition for godparents to give their godchild a spoon (perhaps more than one) at the time of christening; among the wealthy, it was usually a silver spoon. Sometimes it was a set of 12, each with a figure of a different apostle at the upper end of the handle, hence the term, apostle spoons. Presumably a child receiving silver spoons was from a wealthy family and would not have to worry about money. Cervantes in Don Quixote (1615) reminds us that it is not so with everybody: ” Every man was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth.”

 

Cats Meow!

Happy Friday!
This weeks fun phrase is ” Cat’s Meow”

Meaning: A nifty idea, thing or person; something remarkable.

History: In the 1920’s the same idea was expressed in several catly ways, including “the cats whiskers” and “the cats pajamas.” Since the cat has the capability of looking enormously pleased, it is likely that all these expressions derived from that appearance of satisfaction.

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.”

 

Backseat Driver

Happy Friday!!
This weeks fun phrase is “Backseat driver”

Meaning: Someone who gives orders when he or she is not in charge.

History: Today’s backseat driver is most likely to be in the front, alongside the real driver, but in the early days of motoring it was not unusual for the driver (often a chauffeur) to be in the front seat and the passengers in the back seat. I would date the expression to the 1920’s. Strangely the brash back-seat driver is quite in contrast with the shy or self-effacing person who , in the much older phrase, “takes a back seat.”

 

Hold Your Horses!!

Happy Friday!!

This weeks fun phrase is ” Hold your horses.”

Meaning: Take it easy; keep calm; don’t do anything rash.

History: It is what one would have to do with horses when they began to get nervous or excited; by 1844 it had been extended to people, as in the New Orleans Picayune: “Oh, hold your horses, Squire. There’s no use gettin riled, no how.”

 

Once In A Blue Moon

Happy Friday!
This weeks fun phase is ” Once in a blue moon.”

Meaning: Rarely; almost never.

History: Supposedly the moon is never blue, although, on a clear night, some people perceive a faint blue cast to part of the moon that is faintly visible when the bright part is in the shape of a fingernail. The rarity of the blue moon was suggested in a verse published in 1528 by William Roy and J. Barlow in Rede Me and Be Nott Wrothe: “Yf they saye the mone is belewe,/ We must beleve that it is true.”

 

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 .

 

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.

 

Keep Your Head Above Water

Happy Friday!
This weeks fun phrase is ” Keep your head above water.”

Meaning : Stay solvent (Barley); avoid disaster.It is the way one avoids drowning, and so it extends readily to the avoidance by struggle of other kinds of disaster, mostly financial.

History: Henry Fielding had it in The History of the Adventures of Joseph Andrews (1742): “If I can hold my head above water it is all I can.”

 

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.”

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