Today the phrase, Good as Gold, usually refers to a person or child being well-behaved and obedient. The phrase comes from the time when banknotes were first introduced they weren’t considered to be money in the sense we now think of them, but were promissory notes or IOUs. Gold or silver was real money as it had intrinsic […]
DYK: Have you gone to pot? It doesn’t mean what you think
DYK: Did you know? Around 1542, when the phrase first appeared, “to go to pot” was to be cut up like chunks of meat destined for the stew pot. When farm animals outlived their usefulness such as a hen that no longer laid eggs would literally go to pot. It was cooked and eaten. Such […]
DYK: Let’s start from scratch
Many old sayings are also horse racing term. The phrase ‘START FROM SCRATCH” comes from the days when a line was scratched in the ground for a race. The racers would start from the scratch. WHERE DO I START? Hints and Tips for Beginning Genealogists with On-line resources
DYK: Did you get up on the wrong side of the bed?
In olden times, people were very superstitious. They believed that all good in a man was on his right side and all bad was on his left. If you got out of bed on the left side, evil forces would follow you all day long. Most innkeepers had the left sides of the bed against […]
DYK: She was spinning a good yarn
Many old sayings come from nautical terms as is the case with ‘Spinning a a yarn’. Rope was made in ports everywhere. The rope makers chatted while they worked. They told each other stories while they were spinning a yarn. WHERE DO I START? Hints and Tips for Beginning Genealogists with On-line resources
DYK: Have you ever paid through the nose?
Pay through the nose is a very strange saying that has a simple meaning. It comes from the ninth-century in Ireland. When the Danes conquered the Irish, they imposed an exorbitant Nose Tax on the island’s inhabitants. They took a census (by counting noses) and levied oppressive sums on their victims, forcing them to pay […]
DYK: Swan song – It may not mean what you may think
The saying swan song is usually referred to a final theatrical or dramatic appearance, or any final work. It generally carries the connotation that the performer is aware that this is the last performance of his or her lifetime, and is expending everything in one magnificent final effort. Swan song comes from an old belief that swans, […]
DYK: Pulling the wool over one’s eyes
In the 18th century it was the fashion to wear white, curly wigs. They were often powdered. The wigs were called wool possibly because they resembled a sheep’s fleece -if a wig slipped, one could have the “wool pulled over their eyes”
DYK: Does it have a ring of the truth?
When coins were made of gold, silver or other metals. Their value depended on the amount of gold or silver they contained. Some people would make counterfeit coins by mixing gold or silver with a cheaper metal. However you could check if a coin was genuine by dropping it. If it was made of the […]
DYK: Rule of thumb
It is believed that in olden days, brewers estimated the temperature of a brew by dipping their thumb in it thus came about the saying ‘Rule of Thumb’