Archive for history

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.

 

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: 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.

 

Fun Phrase Friday: “For Crying Out Loud”

Happy Friday!
This weeks fun phrase is “For crying out loud!”

Meaning: Oh, for heaven’s sake; what your saying (or doing) is preposterous.

History: The saying is a euphemism (also describable as a minced oath) for “For Christ’s sake!” and seems to have coined, probably in the United States, about 90 years ago.

 

Fun Phrase Friday: You Cant Have Your Cake And Eat It Too

Happy Friday!

This weeks fun phrase is … “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.”

Meaning: You can’t have it both ways.

History: Somehow this phrase has stood on its head, so it is now illogical; if you have your cake, you can eat it too. The original version was ” You cannot eat your cake and have it too,” and there logic lies, because if you have eaten it, you no longer have it. John Heywood’s Proverbs had that vision in 1546, and if it was a proverb then, it was already known. As he put it “Wolde you bothe eate your cake, and haude your cake?”

Fun Phrase Friday: A picture is worth a thousand words

Happy Friday!

This weeks fun phrase is ” A picture is worth a thousand words”.

Meaning: Its much easier to convey some ideas geographically than verbally, or in writing.

History: It sounds like a dictum from the city editor of the New York Daily News, but, in fact, some quite similar (“One picture is worth more than ten thousand words.”) was a Chinese proverb long ago. The Russian writer Ivan Turganev wrote (in Fathers and Sons in 1862): ” A picture shows me at a glance what it takes dozens of pages of a book to expound.”

Fun Phrase Friday: Green eyed monster

Happy Friday!!

This weeks fun phrase is ” Green-eyed monster”

Meaning: Jealousy

History: More from Shakespeare. In Othello the villainous Iago is trying to make Othello mistrusts his wife, Desdemona. Iago drops hints about her relations with Cassio, saying other things:
O, beware, my lord, of jealousy;
It is the green-eyed monster, which doth mock
The meat it feeds on………..
The allusion is to cats and tigers and other green-eyed animals, which toy with their victims before eating them, just as a jealous lover may both love and hate his beloved if he believes a rival is gaining her affections.

 

Fun Phrase Friday: “Free as a bird”

Happy Friday!!

This weeks fun phrase is, ” Free as a bird”.

Meaning: At least temporary able to do whatever one pleases.

History: People watching birds move through the air must long ago decided that it was a free and easy life. It’s a pity one can not get the birds opinion, because in fact a bird works pretty hard most of the time getting food, building a nest, defending territory, feeding young, migrating and so on. Still the bird was symbolic of freedom as long ago as 1533, when John Heywood invoked it in A Mary Play between the Pardoner and the Frere, the Curate and Neybour Pratte: ” As free As be the byrdes that in the ayre flee.”

Fun Phrase Friday: Head in the Clouds

Happy Friday!

This weeks fun phrase is ” Head in the Clouds”

Meaning: Abstracted; Absent minded.

History: The phrase used to be “head in the air,” but that apparently didn’t convey the notion adequately and the head had to be all the way to the clouds. Trawl gave a sharp example of the characterization in 1903; ” The Laureate crost over the lawn with with the dreamy head-in-air gait that was known through five parishes round .”

Caught red handed?

Happy Friday Everyone! Our Fun Phrase Friday today is..
Caught Red Handed
Meaning: To be caught doing something wrong
History: This saying originated because of a law. If someone butchered an animal that didn’t belong to him, he had to be caught with the animal’s blood on his hands to be convicted. Being caught with freshly cut meat did not make the person guilty.

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