Post Revisited, Reedited, Reworded, Reblogged From April 30th 2018
The Plunderous Blunderous Idiom!
It was Laina Eartharcher’s post that sparked it all – oh, a play on words there also “Eyes don’t sparkle … do they?” It made me think of all the times l have been caught out by the English language and most notably The Idiom!
We have quite a history together in all honesty, we have had good times and bad times and mostly times of merriment, not always mine, mostly others who have looked upon my profound responses in either full on curiosity or “Is there something not ‘quite’ right with that chap?’ the looks of ‘Oh ho, the lights are on, but nobody’s home to the phrase of ‘Dumb as a box of rocks’ to the notorious a ‘Few sandwiches short of the picnic’.
The Idiom similiar to that of the Harry Potter’s The Grim has followed me around like a lost puppy from as far back as l care to remember. It’s always been there – waiting to pounce, show itself for what it really is. A trick, a play on words, a catch phrase!
I remember clearly at the doctor’s – and this was only a handful of years ago – well ok, it was 2006, so a bit more than a handful unless you have Jolly Green Giant hands, when the doctor asked me to ‘Hop over to the examining table’, why would l have thought it a strange request, he was after all my doctor and if he says l must hop, then hop l must! So l did, l raised my left leg and hopped over to the table on my right foot!
“What on earth are you doing?” he asked.
“I am hopping over to the table as you requested Doc?” I answered confused, “You did say hop didn’t you?”
“Yes Rory, but that’s just a phrase, a turn of expression, l don’t mean for you to actually hop.”
“Oh, then why did you ask that of me?”
My life has been filled with these strange expressions, in fact some have said to me that many a time that l use them as part of my actual vocabularly?” I don’t know about that at all, but upon mental investigation, actually yes l do. Because l love idioms, strange expressions and turns of word even know and though they have plundered me, and blundered me many a time! Truth further, l think most of us use idioms without ever giving them any thought.
It’s part of the secret language of society, and as l have aged, l have got past the naivety of my younger years [well mostly] and grown rather attached to them.
My Top 7 favourites!
“Eat Your Words!”
This has been used against me quite a few times in my life, and the first time l heard it was when l was around 21. When some chap was trying to prove me wrong about something l knew to be correct! He threatened me, “You’re wrong and l will prove it, l’ll make you eat your words buddy!
Which threw me into a conundrum l must say! How on earth was he going to do that? I mean l speak my words, once gone they are gone, they have been spoken, so how was he going to make me eat them, and more importantly – which words? Asking him to clarify what he meant by that just infuriated him further and he then proceeded to make even more violent gestures!
It left me pondering for a good few weeks afterwards. perhaps he had meant with the use of rice paper?
Apparently its meaning is : “When someone believes you to be wrong with something you said.”
“Hit The Road!!”
Every time l hear this, l cannot help but think of the song by Ray charles, “Hit The Road Jack!” and truth be known, l do a silly little dance and either sing the first bar or hum it, much to the bemusement of those who have used it!
(Hit the road Jack and don’t you come back no more)
What you say?
(Hit the road Jack and don’t you come back no more, no more, no more, no more)
(Hit the road Jack and don’t you come back no more) Woah Woman, oh woman, don’t treat me so mean
You’re the meanest old woman that I’ve ever seen
I guess if you said so
I’d have to pack my things and go (That’s right)
I always figured it was such a strange thing to say in truth, l mean what has the road done to you to warrant you hitting it? However, it doesn’t mean that, more simply put ‘To leave or commence a journey.”
“Flying by the seats of your pants!”
Astonishingly it doesn’t mean that all, and yet as a youngster hearing this for the first time l have to concede to becoming quite baffled! How could anyone actually fly by the seat of their pants? Wasn’t well met when l repeated it to the sayer of it, “What do you mean? How is that even possible?”
Their response of “You’re joking, gees you are a funny guy Matier!” Didn’t help alleviate the situation at all. They had to break it down further and explain that my idea was scatter brained, and there was ‘no clear plan’, and that we would just have to go with it and pray for a result, the right results.
“Mad as a Hatter!”
Something l use a lot admittedly, although l usually then back it up further with a joke of my own ‘At least l have a certificate to prove it!” Obviously it refers to being completely and utterly insane. As a youngster, l was always confused by this, as l only had one true recollection of it and that was with reference to Alice in Wonderland and the Mad Hatter. Before l adopted it into my everyday language, it was thrown against me constantly to explain my strange quirky like behaviours.
I looked into it, and would retort “Ah, but you see there is some truth to the madness of hatters and this stems from the ancient craftmanship of felting in top hats, they used mercury and it had a tendency to drive them a little potty!” Upon hearing this most stop and look at me a little further with their eyes slightly narrowing. I am not sure why, but it is actually true. mercury has a lot of answer for!
“Raining Cats and Dogs!”
An all time favourite most assuredly. first heard it when l was around 10 and my teacher declared it in class one day! Ironically, if l had to use a phrase to describe this morning’s weather it would probably be this one! It’s chucking it down as l write!
Back then, not long back from Malayisa and back in Melbourne in Australia, l had to argue the toss with my teacher and tell her that it was most assuredly not raining cats and dogs. I had a comparison, once in Malaysia l had seen it rain frogs and ribbon snakes, but NEVER dogs and cats, l didn’t think that was actually possible?
Strangely enough, the origin of the phrase itself stems from a historical account of frogs being swept up during a storm and being dropped again. However l can only conclude that this must have been the case in Malaysia because of the monsoon season. All sorts of things occured during those times!
Raining cats and dogs means that it is raining very hard indeed!!!
“It’s Brass Monkeys Outside!”
“Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey!” Hands up, come on how many of you say this? I say it all the time now, well obviously when it’s cold, but when younger, l was mortified! I never knew that there were brass monkeys to begin with, and if there were WHY would l go outside in weather like that? If a brass monkey can lose its balls in cold weather, what hope did l have?
I first heard the phrase when l was 14, l had just returned from Australia to England with my family, and we had to live with my Father’s family in North Wales, whilst we looked for somewhere to live in England. I had NEVER experienced cold weather like my first British winter ever before in my life! It was cold, wet and there was bloody snow everywhere!! It was freezing, and every part of me was frozen solid. I remember it clearly at school, the Fitness teacher came in and said those exact words and l was terrified! Who were these strange people, the Welsh that they could tolerate such extremes?
“But Sir!! I don’t have that kind of protection?!” I pleaded as he requested we go outside and take part in activities. “What on earth are you on about Matier stop being a wuss! A bit of cold weather never hurt anyone!”
I remember how utterly miserable l was that day, thankfully my balls didn’t drop off, they were cold, in fact l think they may even have been frozen, but luckily they stayed intact! I travelled home that day after playing football outside in ‘Brass monkey’ conditions on the school bus completely dishevelled, buttons askew on my shirt, my trousers undone – because my fingers l think had frost bite and l couldn’t do them up again!!
It would be years afterwards before l managed to research that particular phrase and note with satisfaction where it stemmed from. It means “Freezing and miserable weather.” But originated from the phrase of “Freeze the tail off a brass monkey!” Meaning that metal figurines or statues can become ‘Very cold to the touch in freezing weather!’
Curiosity Killed the Cat!!
A term l had often heard growing up used by my parents at what they classed as my ‘Continued and infernal question asking.” “Always remember Rory ‘Curiosity killed the cat!” Which always baffled me, l mean had any cats actually died as a result of their curiousness to life? Being naturally inquisitive perhaps some had, but how does anyone find out anything if one doesn’t ask or explore?
I am naturally inquisitive and curious, and when younger l was 100 times more so!
Apparently, being inquisitive can lead you into an unpleasant situation?
I am still none too sure about that, and trust me when l say l have been involved in some very unpleasant situations, but NOT all of them occured because of my curiosity, more so a case of wrong place, wrong time! Most times l have to concede to saying my curiosity has led me into a font of knowledge and learning, and if brutally honest? Some really lovely times!!
The jury is still out on this …
Anyway, how about you? What are your most favourite idioms, turns of words, phrases, expressions or even the ones you hate?