Now Sayings get passed on through time,
And wives tales can seem quite sublime;
From whence did they come?
those sayings that Mum
did clearly know all in her prime
And wives tales can seem quite sublime;
From whence did they come?
those sayings that Mum
did clearly know all in her prime
Taken to the Cleaners-
You've been ripped off by someone that you may have trusted. They've taken your money and left you with nothing.
Back in the 1800's when you were robbed, you were virtually 'Cleaned out', so this expression has evolved from there.
Take the Cake-
This expression can have two opposing meanings. It originally meant, to win the prize or to be honoured, but now it's more commonly used as a sarcastic remark. When something goes wrong, it's said "Well, that takes the cake", in other words, ''That's pretty bad".
There are also apposing origins for this one as well, but Aristophanes in The Knights, 5th century BC, writes- "If you surpass him in impudence the cake is ours." The cake referring to victory. A cake, was toasted cereal sweetened and bound together with honey and it was an award given to the vigilant man on the night watch.
To talk nonsense. Gibberish and gobbledygook refer to speech or other use of language that is meaningless.
The term gibberish was first seen in English in the early 16th century. Its etymology is not certain, but it is generally thought to be onomatopoeia imitative of speech, similar to the related words jabber (to talk rapidly) and gibber (to speak inarticulately).
Another theory is that gibberish came from the name of a famous 8th-century Islamic alchemist, Jābir ibn Hayyān, whose name was Latinized as "Geber." Thus, "gibberish" was a reference to the incomprehensible technical jargon used by Jabir and other alchemists. (wiki)
The Bees Knees-
Something that's great or wonderful, is the Bees Knees.
The phrase became popular in the U.S. in the 1920's, possibly from the use of the saying on the radio, which stemmed from other similar sayings.
The Black List-
A list which includes people or organisations which are less that reputable. Not to be trusted.
According to the Henry Holt Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins the word "blacklist" originated with a list England's King Charles II made of fifty-eight judges and court officers who sentenced his father, Charles I, to death in 1649. When Charles II was restored to the throne in 1660, thirteen of these regicides were put to death and twenty-five sentenced to life imprisonment, while others escaped. (wiki)
The Eleventh Hour-
The eleventh hour is the hour before midnight, meaning you've left it (to do something) until the last minute, or left it very late to get something done.
It may stem from the Biblical entry in (New Testament) Matthew 20:
Verse 6 And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?
Verse 7 They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.
The Real McCoy-
The real thing, the genuine article.
The phrase "The real McCoy" may be a corruption of the Scots "The real MacKay", first recorded in 1856 as: "A drappie o' the real MacKay," (A drop of the real MacKay). This appeared in a poem Deil's Hallowe'en published in Glasgow and is widely accepted as the phrase's origin.(wiki)
Thick as Thieves-
Very close friendship, doing everything together and spending a lot of time together.
in the 1700's, Thick was explained as being intimate or Familiar. Thieves had a secret slang language called 'cant' and you had to be one of them, or associating with them to be able to understand their 'Thick' or 'intimate' language.
Thick as a Brick-
Lacking in common sense, doesn't get the joke, or doesn't understand what's been said.
The way that Thick is mentioned in this expression, is completely different from the previous saying of 'thick as thieves'. Thick in this case, means to be stupid or have little or no reasoning skills, just like a brick.
Thin as a Bean Pole-
A very thin person, usually tall as well.
A Beanpole is a very tall stick or pole used to support a bean plant.
Tie Up a Loose End-
To finish something, tidy up, or deal with an existing problem
The expression “tie up loose ends” is a weaving term. When a newly woven item is first cut off a loom, sometimes the warp ends are unbound. The warp ends must be finished in some way to prevent the weft from unraveling. It is the intersection of warp and weft materials that creates a woven fabric. It’s the process of tying up the warp ends to prevent the weft material of a fabric from becoming unwoven and separating.
Turn the Other Cheek-
When we've been offended or are experiencing contention and strife, instead of responding badly to the person, we can turn the other cheek by being nice back to them, which will change the outcome, as no-one wants an enemy.
This is from the New Testament in Matthew Chapter 5
39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.
41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
Take the Bull By the Horns-
To confront a problem head on, to tackle a difficult problem taking charge of it.
The only way to grab a bull, is by the horns. If you grab any where else, he can still try to charge at you. Probably originating from the wild west.
To Have the Bull by the Foot-
Means that you're doing things the wrong way, or you've understood something in the wrong way, your information is mixed up.
This saying is the opposite to having the Bull by the horns, which is the right way to do things, you have it by the foot instead, meaning, it's not going to go right for you.
To the Bitter End-
To not quit something until it's finished or over, no matter how hard or unpleasant it is, or how long it takes.
Bitter goes back to the early seventeenth century. It appears first in Captain John Smith’s
Seaman’s Grammar of 1627. It meant the end of a cable or rope that remained fixed on board ship when it was being paid out through the bitts..Admiral William Smyth explained in The Sailor’s Word-book in 1867 that “When a chain or rope is paid out to the bitter-end, no more remains to be let go.” (World Wide Words)
Too Late She Cried, as She Waved her Wooden Leg-
If it has a meaning, it would basically be, that it's too late, or you're too late now to do what was required.
The origin of this is unknown and many people are interested in where it came from, one day it will show up. To me, at hazarding a guess, it is most likely from an old play, song or poem. My guess is that it may have stemmed from the saying "pull your leg", or "pull the other one", then a reply to that may be? Too late (you can't pull my leg) someone's already done it! (waving the wooden leg that's been pulled). That's just my guess though.
Too Many Cooks Spoil the Broth-
If too many people have a say, or are involved in a project or activity, it can ruin the outcome, with too many different ways and ideas.
In 'Journal of the Heart 1830 By Lady Charlotte Campbell Bury', the author refers to this as being a wise old saying, so it obviously dates well before the early 1800's. Again in 'The Millennial Harbinger' 1834. Memoirs of Mary Wollstonecraft- "The vulgar have a pertinent proverb : ' Too many cooks spoil the broth' dated Nov. 25th 1792. Another reference from the early 1700's, state an old proverb of, 'The more cooks, the worse broth' 1723, New England, Courant 94 (1.1)
This proverb was first recorded in 1575 (by George Gascoigne in The Life of P.Care).
Too many Irons in the Fire-
Doing too many things at the one time, or being involved in too many activities at the one time, you'll never get them all done.
Blacksmiths had multiple irons in a fire heating,waiting for them to reach the right heat, ready to be hammered. After an iron was cooled, it was put back on the heat aain, but if the Blacksmith had too many irons going at the one time, he would be confused as to which were ready and which were not.
Knocking on wood refers to the tradition in Western folklore of literally touching, tapping, or knocking on wood, or merely stating that you are doing or intend to do the same, in order to avoid "tempting fate" after boasting, or declaring something that you do not want to come to pass. "I've never had a speeding ticket" touch wood!, meaning I hope I never will, now that I've said it.
Many Pagan groups, before Christianity, worshipped or mythologized trees. Some of these used trees as oracles, some incorporated them into worship rituals and some, like the ancient Celts, regarded them as the homes of certain spirits and gods.The first possible origin of knocking on wood is that it's a much more laid-back version of what the pagan Europeans did to chase away evil spirits from their homes and trees or to prevent them from hearing about, and ruining, a person’s good luck.
The other suggested origin is that some of these tree worshippers laid their hands on a tree when asking for favour from the spirits/gods that lived inside them, or after a run of good luck as a show of gratitude to the supernatural powers. Over the centuries, the religious rite may have morphed into the superstitious knock that acknowledges luck and keeps it going. (Mental Floss)
Turn Over a New Leaf-
Start over, change your bad habits, start living a better life.
This saying has nothing to do with leaves on a tree, but the leaves or pages of a book. This saying was known from the early 1600's and was meaning that if you don't like what you're reading on that page, then turn it over and see what's on the next one.
Throw it to the Four Winds and the Seven Seas-
Meaning, the person couldn't care what happens to something or someone. "Throw his ashes to the four winds and the seven seas"
The "Seven Seas" (as in the idiom "sail the Seven Seas") is an ancient phrase for all the world's oceans. Since the 19th century, the term has been taken to include seven oceanic bodies of water:
(New Testament) Revelations 7:1 And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.
THE FOUR WINDS AND THE SEVEN SEAS, was also a song written by Hal David & Don Rodney. Recorded in 1949 by Sammy Kaye and also a number of other artists, including Rosemary Clooney and Bing Crosby. The first few lines of the song are- You ask where I live Here's the address I give The four winds and the seven seas (meaning he's a wanderer). This saying may have become more popular after the song was written.
Thrown into the Lion's Den-
To be placed in a difficult situation for which you are unprepared: As is "Thrown in the deep end" (of the pool and you can't swim)
Anciently, Christians were thrown to the lions for their belief in Jesus Christ.
(Old Testament) Daniel 6:7 All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions.
Thrown to the Wolves-
This has been used in similar situations as "Thrown into the Lion's den", but it can also refer to being abandoned in a difficult situation or cast off and left for dead, so to speak.
There is a reference to a nurse throwing her charges to the wolf if they continue to misbehave, in one of Aesop's Fables 'The Nurse and the Wolf', but whether this saying originated from there, is unknown. Aesop's Fables or the Aesopica is a collection of fables credited to Aesop, a slave
and storyteller believed to have lived in ancient Greece between 620 and 560 BC.