Mad as a hatter is not from Alice in Wonderland like I once thought. Mad as a Hatter comes from the fact that in the 18th and 19th centuries hat makers treated hats with mercury which became a hazardous occupation. This was known to have affected the nervous systems of hatters, causing them to tremble […]
Face the music – take your pick on the source of this phrase
Face the music means to accept the unpleasant consequences of one’s actions. The source of the phrase is not clear. Some believe that ‘face the music’ originated from the tradition of disgraced officers being ‘drummed out’ of their regiment. A second popular theory is that it was actors who ‘faced the music’, that is, faced […]
DYK: Plane or plain sailing – what is the real meaning?
The phrase, ‘Plain sailing’ is used to describe a process or activity that goes well and is easy and uncomplicated. Actually it is another nautical phrase and derives from 17-18th century, originally ‘plane sailing’, the term for a quick method of navigating short distances, when positions and distances could be plotted as if on a flat plane […]
DYK: True meaning of Moot Point
DYK: Did you know? MOOT POINT – which means and irrelevant Argument comes from the Saxon word moot or mote, which meant a meeting to discuss things. In medieval England, moots, or meets, were assemblies or councils where points of government were debated. The country was split into juridicial areas called hundreds and administered via assemblies known […]
DYK: True meaning of Go The Extra Mile
DYK: Did You Know? GO THE EXTRA MILE – By law a Roman soldier could force anybody to carry his equipment 1 mile. The expression probably comes from the Bible, when Jesus declares in his Sermon on the Mount, “Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.” (Matthew 5:41) The verse is a reference to the practice […]
DYK: Speak of the Devil…..?
Speak of the devil -This phrase is used to acknowledge the coincidence of someone arriving at a scene just at the time that they are being talked about. The full form goes like this – “speak of the Devil and he will appear”. The phrase originated in England, where it was, and still is, more […]
DYK: Sentimental? I don’t think so.
Samantha decided to go carol singing on Christmas Eve. She knocked on the door of a house and began to sing. A man, holding a clarinet, opened the door to the house. In a few seconds tears were streaming down his face. Samantha continued singing for at least a further 20 minutes. She sang every […]
DYK: Where did the phrase ‘a drop in a bucket’ originate?
A ‘Drop in a bucket’ means a very small proportion of the whole. The phrase comes from the Bible, Isaiah 40:15: (King James version) “Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.” Amazon.com – […]
DYK: The real meaning of spic and span?
The saying ‘spick and span’ once meant new, but means extra clean today. A span was a wood shaving. If something was newly built it would have tell-tale wood chips so it was ‘span new’, Spick is an old word for a nail. New spicks or nails would be shiny. However words and phrases often […]
DYK: The true blue “Blue Bloods” – who are they?
For centuries the Arabs occupied Spain but they were gradually forced out during the Middle Ages. The upper class in Spain had paler skin than most of the population as their ancestors had not inter-married with the Arabs. As they had pale skin the ‘blue’ blood running through their veins was more visible. Translated from […]