View Full Version : Old Expressions• Faves• Their Origin• What Does It Mean ?

2007-10-19, 08:34
List Away Your Favorite Curios As You think Of "EM.

"Doggone It" Anybody know it's origin / definition ?

"Hanky Panky" " ^ ^ "

"Mind Your P's and Q's" -

I heard that this means - Watch your drinking P's = Pints / Q - Quarts. Anybody know different ?

Thanks ~

2007-10-19, 08:59
Good idea Facetious :thumbsup:

Dead Ringer.

Meaning: To look like someone else.
Example: She told me I was dead ringer for Dilbert. Is that good?
Origin: The definition of ringer, from which this phrase comes, is "substituted racehorse."
Unscrupulous racehorse owners have a fast horse and a slow horse that are nearly identical in appearance. They run the slow horse until the betting odds reached the desired level, then they substitute the ringer, who can run much faster. Dead, in this case means abrupt or exact, like in dead stop, or dead shot.

Flying by the seat of your pants.

Meaning: To do something without planning, to change course midstream, to figure things out as you go.
Example: Most stock investors are not making educated decisions, they are just flying by the seat of their pants.
Origin: Before airplanes had sophisticated instruments and flight control systems, and even today, planes are piloted by feel. Pilots can feel the reactions of the plane in response to their actions at the controls.
Being the largest point of contact between pilot and plane, most of the feel or feedback comes through the seat of the pants.

If you are "flying by the seat of your pants" your are responding to the feedback received.

2007-10-19, 09:10

Someone who is basically good hearted but lacking social graces and respect for the law.

This term is often used to describe people on the edge of the criminal fraternity who, while they may not commit serious crimes themselves, probably know people who do.

The English comic actor, the late Sid James, typified the type on and off stage and was typecast in such roles. For example, he played Sir Sidney Ruff-Diamond in the Ealing comedy Carry On Up The Khyber. That was quite appropriate for this phrase as it turns out - Sid James worked in a diamond mine in South Africa before becoming an actor.


The phrase is clearly a metaphor for the original unpolished state of diamond gemstones, especially those that have the potential to become high quality jewels. It is more commonly expressed in the form 'rough diamond'. The first recorded use in print is in John Fletcher's A Wife for a Month, 1624:

"She is very honest, and will be as hard to cut as a rough diamond."

Barking up the wrong tree


Making a mistake or a false assumption in something you are trying to achieve.


The allusion is to hunting dogs barking at the bottom of trees where they mistakenly think their quarry is hiding.

The earliest known printed citation is inmJames Kirke Paulding's Westward Ho!, 1832:

"Here he made a note in his book, and I begun to smoke him for one of those fellows that drive a sort of a trade of making books about old Kentuck and the western country: so I thought I'd set him barking up the wrong tree a little, and I told him some stories that were enough to set the Mississippi a-fire; but he put them all down in his book."

The phrase must have caught on in the USA quickly after Hall's book. It appeared in several American newspapers throughout the 1830s. For example, this piece from the Gettysburg newspaper The Adams Sentinel, March 1834:

"Gineral you are barkin' up the wrong tree this time, for I jest see that rackoon jump to the next tree, and afore this he is a mile off in the woods.

2007-10-19, 09:14
Flying by the seat of your pants.

Meaning: To do something without planning, to change course midstream, to figure things out as you go . . .]

Like this ? Listen to this clip. The mid portion can be tedious for a minute or so, the ending is good.

http://www.alexisparkinn.com/photogallery/Videos/flightassist.mp3 :eek: :D

OFF TOPIC Drift Again :o

2007-10-19, 09:16
Dog's bollocks


Excellent - the absolute apex. In other contexts the word bollocks (meaning testicles) has a negative connotation. For example:

- 'that's bollocks' -> 'that's rubbish'
- 'give him a bollocking' -> 'chastise him'
- 'He dropped a bollock' -> 'he made a mistake'

The reasons why the 'dog's bollocks' are considered to be the top of the tree aren't clear. Dogs do enjoy licking them of course, but there's no evidence that links the coining of this phrase to that. It is most likely that this is just a nonsense phrase, coined because it sounds good. In that, it would join a long list of earlier nonsense phrases, e.g. 'the cat's pyjamas', 'the bee's knees' etc.


The word bollocks, meaning testicles has been part of the language since the 18th century, but didn't become used to mean nonsense until the early 20th century. The 'dog's bollocks' seems to have originated in Britain in the late 1980s. At that time the scurrilous magazine Viz used the term frequently. For example, they used it in the title of an issue in 1989:

"Viz: the dog's bollocks: the best of issues 26 to 31."

It isn't clear that that is the origin - Viz's writer's frequently latched on to any vaguely obscene street slang and printed it.

'Bollocks' has long had street cred as a swearword amongst the English young. The Sex Pistols' 1977 album 'Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols', no doubt brought the word to greater prominence.

Since the phrase came into use some alternatives have emerged - 'the pooches privates' and, more successfully, 'the mutt's nuts'.

2007-10-19, 09:26
"Just pulling your leg":dunno:

2007-10-19, 09:30
"Just pulling your leg":dunno:

"pulling your leg"
When someone makes a joke by lying to you and pretending that the lie is true, they are "pulling your leg". Example: "Look; your shoes are untied... Ha! Just pulling your leg." When you trick a person into believing a lie as a way of making a joke, you are pulling their leg. Example: "Really? That store is closed on Sunday? Are you sure?" Answer: "Don't listen to him; he is just pulling your leg." When you are the person who is being tricked, your leg is being pulled. Example: "I want to ask you a question and I would like an honest answer; no pulling my leg."

According to World Wide Words, the expression first appeared in print in W.B. Churchward's "Blackbirding" in the 1880s.


2007-10-19, 09:31
Close your eyes and think of England


A reference to unwanted sexual intercourse.


This is supposed to be recorded in the 1912 journal of Lady Hillingdon:

"When I hear his steps outside my door I lie down on my bed, open my legs and think of England."

That is widely repeated in various reference texts, but without access to the source document it has to be counted as speculative. If it is indeed accurate then we can also speculate that the good lady's forbearance wasn't frequently tested. She was married to Charles William Mills, second Baron Hillingdon, who had retired from active business life five years prior to this journal entry, owing to ill health. The couple had three children.

Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey


Very cold weather conditions. Also known by the derivative phrase - brass monkey weather.


Some references say that the brass triangles that supported stacks of iron cannon-balls on sailing ships were called monkeys and that in cold weather the metal contracted, causing the balls to fall off. The derivation of this phrase is difficult enough to determine without such tosh, so let's get that oft-repeated story out of the way first:

Cartoons of pirate ships always come complete with the usual icons - parrots, peg legs and pyramids of cannon-balls. That's artistic license rather than historical fact. The Royal Navy records that, on their ships at least, cannon-balls were stored in planks with circular holes cut into them - not stacked in pyramids. These planks were known as 'shot garlands', not monkeys, and they date back to at least 1769, when they were first referred to in print.

On dry land, the obvious way to store cannon-balls seems to be by stacking them. On board ship it's a different matter. A little geometry shows that a pyramid of balls will topple over if the base is tilted by more than 30 degrees. This tilting, not to mention any sudden jolting, would have been commonplace on sailing ships. It just isn't plausible that cannon-balls were stacked this way.

For those wanting a bit more detail, here's the science bit. The coefficient of expansion of brass is 0.000019; that of iron is 0.000012. If the base of the stack were one metre long the drop in temperature needed to make the 'monkey' shrink relative to the balls by just one millimetre, would be around 100 degrees Celsius. Such a small shrinkage wouldn't have had the slightest effect. In any case in weather like that the sailors would probably have better things to think about than coining new phrases.

Another explanation that is given for this phrase is that it originated with the three wise monkeys. The original of these was a set of carved wooden monkeys in the Sacred Stable at Nikko in Japan. In 1896, Robert Hope introduced their meaning to the West in his The Temples & Shrines of Nikko:

"One group represents three monkeys, one closing its eyes with its hands, this is called Mi-zaru = 'don't see any wrong'; another one closing its ears with its hands, called Kika-zaru = 'don't hear any wrong'; the other one closing its mouth with its hands, called Iwa-zaru = 'don't talk any wrong'."

If you've heard the phrase 'hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil' you are probably familiar with the brass version of these monkey figures, which have used as paperweights since at least the early 20th century. Their introduction to English-speaking countries, and knowledge of the three wise monkeys, come too late for the figures to have been the direct source of this phrase.

Now, back to the real origin of 'cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey'. Anyone looking for the origin of this is likely to be put off the scent by the 'balls' in the phrase. Of course, the way we now understand the phrase is that it is cold enough to freeze one's testicles off (ladies needn't feel left out, they have the alternative 'as cold as a witch's tit in a brass bra'). Once we realize that the phrase is seen in print many times in various forms well before any variant that mentions balls, it becomes clear that trying to explain what balls were being referred to is something of a fool's errand. Were the two explanations above not counted out already we could probably discount them on this count too. There may have been some journalistic coyness about using the current version of the phrase - it is, after all, commonly understood to refer to testicles. That's view is backed up by the fact that there are almost no citations of the balls variant in any US newspaper, even up until the present day. There's no evidence to prove that that variant existed in the 19th century. 'Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey' appears to have originated in the USA in the first part of the 20th century and is clearly based of earlier variants. The earliest citation of that precise phrase that I can find is from as late as 1979 in the biography of Tristan Jones - A Wayward Sailor:

"A cold fit to freeze the balls of a brass monkey."

There were earlier balls version - Bluestones' The Private World of Cully Powers, 1960 has: "Man, I'm so hungry I could eat the balls off a brass monkey". There's little doubt that the phrase was circulating almost the general public before WWII - some years before it appears in print.

In Arthur Mizener's biography of F. Scott Fitzgerald The Far Side of Paradise, he includes part of a letter written by Fitzgerald's wife Zelda in 1921:

"This damned place is 18 below zero and I go around thanking God that, anatomically and proverbially speaking, I am safe from the awful fate of the monkey."

The risqué nature of Zelda's life and writing style suggests that she wasn't referring to the monkey's nose, tail or ears.

Later, but still before WWII, Eric Partridge, in A Dictionary of Catchphrases, repeats this report:

Shortly before WW2, The Crazy Gang at the Palladium played a sketch wearing fur coats, hats, gloves etc. When the brass balls fell from a pawnbroker's sign, one of them exclaimed, "Blimey, I didn't know it was that cold!"

At this point it is probably worth looking at those early citations of the phrase. Interestingly, many early versions refer to heat rather than cold and the first known version of the phrase mentions neither balls nor cold. That is found in Herman Melville's novel Omoo, 1847:

It was so excessively hot in this still, brooding valley, shut out from the Trades, and only open toward the leeward side of the island, that labor in the sun was out of the question. To use a hyperbolical phrase of Shorty's, "It was 'ot enough to melt the nose h'off a brass monkey."

Other printed mentions of brass monkey that followed a little later in the 19th century are:

Charles Augustus Abbey, in Before the Mast in the Clippers, 1857: "It would freeze the tail off of a brass monkey."

John Esten Cooke's The Wearing of the Gray, 1865: 'His measure of cold was, "Cold enough to freeze the brass ears on a tin monkey."'

An article in the Illinois newspaper The Decatur Republican, 1868: "...every idiotic copperhead editor in the country, who hasn't got as much brains as a brass monkey..."

There are many other hot/cold variants of the phrase in print from the 19th century:

- less bashful than... (1867)
- scald the throat of... (1870)
- talk the leg off... (1872)
- as cheeky as... (1873)
- burn the ears off... (1876)
- had touched the heart of... (1878)
- singe the hair on... (1879)

All of these combine to suggest that the brass monkey in question wasn't a particular beast or object but merely a synonym for a generalized inanimate object. If that's so then, what was a brass monkey? It may be a reference to the three wise monkeys that pre-dates the 1896 citation above - although that would seem unlikely given the gap in the dates.

The young boys who helped with the loading of cannons on naval ships were called powder monkeys. Other seafaring monkey business relates to ancient forms of cannon called a brass monkeys, or drakes, or dogs. These were recorded in an inventory published in 1650 - The articles of the rendition of Edenburgh-Castle to the Lord Generall Cromwel:

"Short Brasse Munkeys alias Dogs."

Brass drakes/monkeys were referred to in J. Heath's Flagellum, 1663: "Twenty-eight Brass Drakes called Monkeys" and in The Taking of St. Esprit in Harlech, 1627: "Two drakes upon the half deck, being brass, of sacker bore".

There's also a nautical reference from 1822 for the monkey tail which appears in the earliest known version of the phrase. This was a lever that was used to aim a cannon.

It might sound like the work of CANOE (the Committee to Ascribe a Naval Origin to Everything) but, given these citations and the large percentage of references to brass monkeys in nautical contexts, it seems likely that the inanimate object in question was in fact a naval cannon. The 'balls' are a recent appendage.

2007-10-19, 09:35
Dirt bag


Originally a bag or sack with dirt in it. More recently an unkempt or slovenly person.


The sack of dirt meaning is American in origin and dates back to the 19th century. That's first cited in the Iowa newspaper the Davenport Daily Republican, 1897:

"Hundreds of section hands are striving to keep the water back with dirt bags."

That reference is to what would be called 'sand bags' in the UK. 'Dirt bag' is also the commonly used term for a bag in a vacuum cleaner that holds whatever is sucked up.

'Dirt bag' in the more recent 'unkempt/unwashed' sense clearly alludes to the actual bags of dirt. The first printed reference to it is in an article in Mansfield News Journal, May 1976 which comments on the case of Spider Sabich, who was shot by Claudine Longet:

"Spider, the object of constant adulation, persistent attentions, used to say, "I'm just a dirt bag. Who am I trying to fool?" ... She [Claudine Longet] didn't consider herself a dirt bag."

The term was given a boost when the band Wheatus released a single entitled Teenage Dirtbag in 2000.

Shut your cake-hole


Be quiet.


This slang expression is of UK origin, dating from the middle of the 20th century. It was widely used in the UK until about 1970s and, although somewhat archaic now, it is still used occasionally. Hunt and Pringle record it in their 1943 reference book Service Slang:

"Cake hole, the airman's name for his or anyone else's mouth."

The later equivalent term 'shut your pie-hole' began use in the USA in the 1980s. It isn't clear if that derives from the 'cake-hole' version or was coined independently.

2007-10-19, 09:42
List Away Your Favorite Curios As You think Of "EM.

"Doggone It" Anybody know it's origin / definition ?

DOGGONE -- perhaps from the Scotch "dagone," gone to the dogs, or maybe an alteration of G*ddamn, 1851; doggoned, 1857. From "I Hear America Talking" by Stuart Berg Flexner (Von Nostrand Reinhold Co., New York, 1976).

2007-10-19, 10:52
How about
"Mother Fucker"
where did that start and what exaclty does it mean?

2007-10-19, 11:06
How about
"Mother Fucker"
where did that start and what exaclty does it mean?

Since (and probably long before) the legend of Oedipus Rex, the most despicable deed that a man is capable of is generally considered to be the act of having sexual intercourse with his own mother, therefore a M.F. is the worst thing you can call a man.

There are various thoughts which can be added to this:

King Oedipus himself committed the crime innocently - he had no prior knowledge that the woman he loved was his mother, nor that the man the he murdered was his father.

Freud based large amounts of his theory of psychiatry on what he called the Oedipus Complex.

"M.F." has become a term of affection or even a compliment among some social groups, i.e. no longer the ultimate insult.

The great American musical humourist Tom Lehrer wrote a rousing song about Oedipus Rex ("...you've heard about his strange comPLEX"), including the lines "He loved his mother/ Like no other./ His daughter was his sister and his son was his brother..."

2007-10-19, 12:44
"It's not my hat"


Not my problem

A play on the problem one would have if they dropped their hat in a New York Subway.

Trampled under foot ! / The running of the bulls !

Big Problem !

Origin ?
__________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _______

"[ . . . Hide nor hare . . .]" I haven't seen hide nor hare of (name of individual)


2007-10-19, 13:03
Since (and probably long before) the legend of Oedipus Rex, the most despicable deed that a man is capable of is generally considered to be the act of having sexual intercourse with his own mother, therefore a M.F. is the worst thing you can call a man.

There are various thoughts which can be added to this:

King Oedipus himself committed the crime innocently - he had no prior knowledge that the woman he loved was his mother, nor that the man the he murdered was his father.

Freud based large amounts of his theory of psychiatry on what he called the Oedipus Complex.

"M.F." has become a term of affection or even a compliment among some social groups, i.e. no longer the ultimate insult.

The great American musical humourist Tom Lehrer wrote a rousing song about Oedipus Rex ("...you've heard about his strange comPLEX"), including the lines "He loved his mother/ Like no other./ His daughter was his sister and his son was his brother..."


2007-10-19, 15:28
"Hanky Panky" " ^ ^ "

Thanks ~

Hanky Panky.

To get up to some hanky panky implies some sort of underhand dealing or cheating. I can't find a certain origin, but the expression has been compared with Hocus Pocus, the start of a mock Latin phrase used by conjurers with the object of distracting the audience from any slight-of-hand. Our word Hoax is probably derived from this mock-Latin and Hanky panky possibly a variant.

2007-10-19, 18:14
A phrase I use frequently, I learned from my dad: I kid you not

Was unable to find the exact origins, but here are a few blurbs:

"I'm not fooling you"

e.g. The professor was actually amazing at skateboarding! I kid you not.

Popularized by Jack Paar:

I KID YOU NOT - Catchphrase used by Jack Paar. Paar, host of the Tonight Show from 1957 to 1962, "invented the talk-show format as we know it: the ability to sit down and make small talk big," said Merv Griffin. Paar died on January 27, 2004, at age 85. "Even youngsters sent to bed before Mr. Paar came on parroted his jaunty catchphrase, 'I kid you not.'"

My father was in his late teens when Paar was on TV. So I guess that explains where he got it from!

2007-10-19, 22:31
"Mind Your P's and Q's" -

I heard that this means - Watch your drinking P's = Pints / Q - Quarts. Anybody know different ?

That's they way I always heard it explained.

The great American musical humourist Tom Lehrer wrote a rousing song about Oedipus Rex ("...you've heard about his strange comPLEX"), including the lines "He loved his mother/ Like no other./ His daughter was his sister and his son was his brother..."

I was under the impression Oedipus and his wife/mother had at least two daughters, one named Antigone. Am I remembering correctly?

2007-10-20, 15:31
For what is pied about the piper ?

His patchwork clothing ?
__________________________________________________ _______

√ "the whole nine yards"

√ "For Petes Sake"

√ "the whole lock stock and barrel"

2007-10-21, 06:49
For Pete's Sake.

: : : : : Biblical origins. Think of St Peter. Think of the omnipresent medieval church and think of hitting your thumb with a hammer. You can't swear, else the local priests will have you up before the Bishop and the Lord alone knows what the outcome of that will be, so you exclaim, in appropriate tone of voice, "For Saint Peter's sake" and carry on erecting the shelves. This phrase was amended to "For Pete's Sake" in later, less religiously oppressive, times.

: : : : This is called a "minced oath," a substitution of a less offensive word.

: : : Not by me it's not; I just consider it a mild swearword to be used in polite company to express irritation at some other person's action or, more likely, inaction. Never ever think of it as a 'minced oath' which conjures up visions of mooing cattle, butchers in white aprons and the awful grinding sound of meat being extruded.

: : : Relax, please. No one should ever have such a passion for a phrase.

: Let me try this again. A "minced oath" means when a person starts to let go with a really bad swear -- like God damn -- realizes he/she shouldn't say it and substitutes a harmless phrase like "Godfrey Daniel." And along the same line, a person starts to say "For God's Sake" and says "For Pete's Sake" instead. Or starts to say the F-word and says instead, "For goodness sake."

2007-10-21, 06:51
The whole nine yards


All of it - full measure.


Of all the feedback that The Phrase Finder site gets this is the phrase that is asked about the most often. At the outset it should be said that no one is 100% sure of the origin, although many have a fervent belief that they do. These convictions are unfailingly based on no more evidence than 'someone told me'.

How was the phrase derived?

"The whole nine yards" crops up in many contexts, which isn't surprising, as there are many things that can be measured in linear, square or cubic yards - and there are also yard-arms, steelyards etc. to account for. This is the source of the variability of the many plausible, but of course mostly incorrect, explanations of the phrase's origin. Regrettably, plausibility doesn't get us very far, as the following will show. The early citations of the phrase don't in fact refer to yards of any particular material, just to a non-specific measure - 'yards'.

The most probable source of the phrase is the US military - that's where many early references to the phrase originate.

The earliest such military reference is from the 1960s, in Elaine Shepard's novel about the Vietnam War - The Doom Pussy (A narrative about the Vietnam War and the men who are fighting it). The book was first published in 1967 and recounts army life during the early 1960s.

The whole nine yards is used several times in the book, principally by the character Major 'Smash' Crandell. The first citation relates to his extracting himself from an unwanted marriage:

The story began when he had absent-mindedly gone through a wedding ceremony a couple of years before while snockered one Saturday night in San Francisco. Slipping out of the knot was expensive but Smash was eventually able to untangle what he called "the whole nine yards."

A later reference concerns a letter to a serviceman from a sweetheart, promising him comprehensive sexual favours when he gets back home. His response to this is:

God. The first thing in the early pearly morning and the last thing at night. Beds all over the gahdam house. The whole nine yards.

It is possible that the phrase was coined by servicemen in Vietnam. One possible source for this would be the Montagnard hill tribes, who were known by the US forces as 'the Yards'. In 1970, the US author Robert L. Mole published The Montagnards of South Vietnam: A Study of Nine Tribes. Some reports suggest that these nine tribes are the source of the 'nine' in TWNY; other US service memoirs claim that Special Operations Group teams consisted of three US soldiers and nine Yards. The disparity in these reports gives some cause for caution, but it could be that the phrase did originate in Vietnam and that Elaine Shepard picked it up as force's jargon while researching for her book.

The military are also the source of the majority of hearsay accounts of the phrase's source. Many of these are of the 'I was there' variety and carry more authority than the usual, and frankly unhelpful, 'I was told' stories. Having spent some time researching this phrase I have received many such reports from servicemen (usually U.S. servicemen). One such example is from a U.S. drill sergeant who claims that the phrase originated in Fort Benning, Georgia, where soldiers were trained in the 'tree-second rush'. This involved running nine yards in three seconds before diving to ground to avoid sniper fire. Of all the explanations I've heard this one seems to me to be the most believable and certainly fits the phrase's meaning, although without documentary evidence it is just another plausible story.

When was it coined?

Although the precise derivation of a given slang phrase is often difficult to determine, the date of its coinage usually isn't. Phrases that are accepted into common use appear in newspapers, court reports, novels etc. very soon after they are coined and continue to do so for as long as the phrase is in use. Anyone who puts forward an explanation of an origin for 'the whole nine yards' which dates it to before the 1950s has to explain the lack of a printed record of it prior to 1954. If, to take the most commonly repeated version for instance, the phrase comes from the length of WWII machine gun belts, why is there no printed account of that in the thousands of books written about the war and the countless millions of newspaper editions published throughout the 1950s and 60s? The idea that it pre-dates the war and goes back to the 19th century or even the Middle Ages is even less plausible.

What I am sure of is that the phrase wasn't in wide circulation before 1961 - which tends to rule out many of the suggested sources. Why? In May 1961, the American athlete Ralph Boston broke the world long jump record with a jump of 27 feet 1/2 inch. No one had previously jumped 27 feet. This was big news at the time and widely reported. Surely the feat cried out for this headline?:

"Boston goes the whole nine yards"

And yet, not a single journalist worldwide came up with that line, which is missing from all newspaper archives. The phrase may have been coined before 1961, but it certainly wasn't then known to that most slang-aware of groups - newspaper journalists.

The likelihood that the phrase originated in the mid 20th century is supported by the lack of any evidence prior to the early 1960s and the ample printed citations from the late 1960s. "The whole nine yards" was in wide enough circulation in the USA then for it to be appearing in newspaper adverts. There are many examples of this, as here from the Playground Daily News, Fort Walton Beach, Florida, 1st May 1969:

'Four bedroom home, located in Country Club Estates. Running distance from Golf Course. Completed and ready to move in. This home has "the whole nine yards" in convenience.'

Earliest citations in print

The earliest known example of the phrase in print is in The Agitator, 29th March 1855. This newspaper, based in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania, claimed to be 'Devoted to the Extension of the Area of Freedom and the Spread of Healthy Reform'. Despite that claim, the paper's content consists of made-up stories of the 'WWII bomber found on the moon' sort we see in our contemporary gutter press. The story from 1855 concerns a judge who arrived at an event without a spare shirt and decided to have one made for him. As a joke a friend ordered one with three times the required material, i.e. 'nine yards of bleached domestic and three yards of linen'. The outcome was:

"He found himself shrouded in a shirt five yards long and four yards broad. What a silly, stupid woman! I told her to get enough to make three shirts; instead of making three, she has put the whole nine yards into one shirt!"

Well, that does contain the phrase in question and it does relate to yards of material, which is one of the commonly repeated origins. This appears to be by pure chance though. After all, the individual words are common enough and have to appear together arbitrarily sometimes. This can't be accepted as the origin.

To get a more plausible source we have to come forward to as recent a date as 1964, which is the earliest date I've yet found for the 'whole thing' meaning of the expression. On 18th of April that year, the Texas newspaper The San Antonio Express and News reprinted an article headed How To Talk 'Rocket', by Stephen Trumbull. He wrote the piece for The World Book Encyclopedia Science Service and it lists and explains new jargon terms that were in use in the space exploration community in the USA. He offered the opinion that "the new language spreads across the country - like a good joke - with amazing rapidity", which suggests that the terms listed were recently coined and went on the write:

"Give 'em the whole nine yards" means an item-by-item report on any project.

Whether the term actually originated as spaceman's jargon is open to doubt. It could easily have been appropriated by them from another source. That source could well have been the US military, as that's where many early references to the phrase originate.

Suggested derivations

Despite being sure they are all inventions, I'm obliged to include some of the versions of the source of the phrase that are going the rounds. Take your pick, and feel free to make up your own, everyone else does:

It comes from the nine cubic yards capacity of US concrete trucks and dates from around 1970s. Widely circulated although arrant nonsense as even the largest concrete mixers were smaller than 9 cubic yards in 1967.

The explanation refers to World War II aircraft, which if proved correct would clearly predate the concrete truck version. There are several aircraft related sources:

The length of US bombers bomb racks.
The length of RAF Spitfire's machine gun bullet belts.
The length of ammunition belts in ground based anti-aircraft turrets, etc. No evidence to show that any of these measured nine yards has been forthcoming.

Tailors use nine yards of material for top quality suits. Related to 'dressed to the nines'?

The derivation has even been suggested as being naval and that the yards are shipyards rather than measures of area or volume. Another naval version is that the yards are yardarms. Large sailing ships had three masts, each with three yardarms. The theory goes that ships in battle can continue changing direction as new sails are unfurled. Only when the last sail, on the ninth yardarm, is used do the enemy know which direction the ship is finally headed.

A mediaeval test requiring the victim to walk nine paces over hot coals.

2007-10-21, 06:53
Lock, stock and barrel


The whole thing.


I've seen it suggested that this phrase refers to all of a shopkeeper's possessions - the stock in trade, the items stored in barrels and the lock to the door. That's entirely fanciful though - the 'whole thing' in question when this phrase originated was a musket. Muskets were composed of three parts:

- The lock, or flintlock, which is the firing mechanism. Various forms of 'lock' muskets were used from the 1400s onwards, e.g. firelocks, flintlocks, matchlocks etc. The term 'lock' was probably adopted because the mechanism resembles a door lock.

- The stock, which is the wooden butt-end of the gun. 'Stock' is the old term for wooden butt or stump and is a generic term for a solid base. It was used as early as 1495 in association with Tudor guns, in a bill for 'gonne stokkes'. See also laughing stock.

- The barrel, i.e. a cylindrical object, is an even older word and was well-established by the 15th century. This is the least obvious of these three terms to have been chosen to name a musket part. After all, in the 15th century people would have been very familiar with barrels as the squat coopered tubs used for storage - hardly similar to the parallel-sided cylindrical tubes that were used in muskets. It may have been that the term migrated from cannons or other sorts of gun which were more barrel-shaped.

Given the antiquity of the three words that make up the phrase and the fact that guns have been in use since at least the Hundred Years' War in 1450, and even earlier in other countries e.g. China, we might expect it to be very old. In fact it isn't particularly; the earliest use of it appears to come from the letters of Sir Walter Scott in 1817:

"Like the High-landman's gun, she wants stock, lock, and barrel, to put her into repair."

Scott wasn't shy of inventing new phrases in his writing and it's highly likely that he coined 'stock, lock and barrel'. The reference to 'lock' coming at a time when the use of flintlocks was in decline might be thought as evidence against any link between them. Scott constantly referred back in time in his work though, as is fitting for the man who is credited with inventing the historical novel, and many of his books are set in the 15th and 16th centuries.

There are several citations of the phrase in that form from soon after Scott. It quickly crossed the Atlantic and in 1830 appeared in The Trenton Emporium newspaper:

"The country is ruined, stock, lock and barrel."

It isn't until 1842 though, in William Thompson's collection of humourous letters Major Jones' Courtship, that we see the phrase as we now use it:

"All moved, lock, stock, and barrel."

Rudyard Kipling came close to giving us a definition of the term in 1891, in Light That Failed:

"The whole thing, lock, stock, and barrel, isn't worth one big yellow sea-poppy."

Why and how the change from 'stock, lock and barrel' was made we don't know now. It's possible that 'lock, stock and barrel' just has a better ring to it.

2007-10-21, 07:06
"Ain't over till the Fat Lady sings" :have always liked that expression :)

2007-10-21, 08:58
His ears must be burning.

someone making abrasive remarks behind someones back.

Kill 2 birds with 1 stone.

2007-10-21, 09:52
For what is pied about the piper ?

His patchwork clothing ?
__________________________________________________ _______

√ "the whole nine yards"

√ "For Petes Sake"

√ "the whole lock stock and barrel"

The whole nine yards could derive from the mining industry. When the shot firers had loosened up the coal face each miner was given nine yards of it to clear in his shift.When the coal was difficult to work they still had to shift the whole nine yards to earn the pay.
I have heard the expression used by many ex miners . Whether American mines were run on the same basis I don't know.I first heard it used about 45 years ago.

2007-10-22, 21:48
"What's good for the goose is good for the gander" (?)

2007-10-22, 22:10
I know what it means, but my dad says it almost every single time I talk to him, so I kind of hate it.

"Six or one half dozen or the other"

PS - For those of you who care/don't know already, it basically just means "it doesn't matter" or "either way".

2007-10-23, 03:38
"What's good for the goose is good for the gander" (?)

I belive that the original form of this phrase (at least over here in the UK) is "what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander".

On that basis, I'd guess that the idiomatic expression stems from the culinary world. One wouldn't prepare two different sauces, one for a cooked goose and one for a cooked gander, because there's next to no practical difference between the two. What gets poured over one is equally suitable to be poured over the other. :thumbsup:

My Grandad always used to say, "Put thwood in't ole"! Roughly translated from the Yorkshire dialect to English, he was saying, "Put the wood in the hole"!

Put the wood in the hole


Close the door.


This is a colloquial North of England expression of uncertain origin and date.

The 'wood' is the door and the expression is usually used when someone leaves a door open and lets in cold air to a warm room. Television dramas have given the term a wider audience but it is still largely confined to the North of England. Even there it is less used than before, probably due to the increased used of central heating which means there is less cause to use it.

2007-10-23, 12:02
One I just used in a post. It all panned out.

To turn out well; be successful

2007-10-23, 12:14
"A flash in the pan"....something that does not deliver as expected.

During times of flintlock muskets, the gunpowder would flash, but the ball would not be fired. :dunno:

2007-10-24, 03:10
The straw that broke the camels back.

- "In Charles Dickens' 'Dombey and Son' (Chapter 2), you will find 'As the last straw breaks the laden camel's back,' meaning that there is a limit to everyone's endurance, or everyone has his breaking point. Dickens was writing in the nineteenth century and he may have received his inspiration from an earlier proverb, recorded by Thomas Fuller in his 'Gnomologia' as 'Tis the last feather that breaks the horse's back.' (A gnomologia' is a compilation of sayings.)" From "Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins" by William and Mary Morris (HarperCollins, New York, 1977, 1988).

"that last mistake was the straw that broke the camel's back?"

It derives, I believe, from a proverbial story, in which a camel was increasingly laden - finally it was a mere straw which proved too much for the poor beast to bear, and it broke its back.

It has come to mean that in many cases, it will something seemingly very minor which proves too much to tolerate.

2007-10-24, 05:31
Cut off your nose to spite your face


Disadvantage yourself in order to do harm to an adversary.


The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations lists this proverb as "mid 16th century - mid 14th century in French". I wouldn't doubt them but the earliest citation I can find in print is much later. Grose's 1796 edition of the 'Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue' explains it thus:

"He cut off his nose to be revenged of his face. Said of one who, to be revenged on his neighbour, has materially injured himself."

Safe sex


What is usually meant by 'safe sex' is sexual activity where precautions, e.g. the use of condoms, are taken against the transmission of diseases, notably HIV/AIDS. Earlier, in the 20th century, there have been other interpretations of what was meant by the term. For example, 'the avoidance of sex, notably for young or unmarried people' and 'birth control methods'.


The term as we use it now, i.e. the use of condoms in order to protect against sexually transmitted diseases, originated in the US in the mid 1980s following the rise in the number of cases of HIV and AIDS. The term was widely used in the press from 1984 onward. For example, this extract from an AIDS-awareness campaign, reported in The Daily Intelligencer, January 1984 :

"The goal is to reach about 50 million people with messages about safe sex and AIDS education."

References to the earlier, 'avoidance of sex' meaning date back to at least the 1930s. here's an example from The Stevens Point Daily Journal, March 1939:

"For general health and safe sex habits, children of the same sex or different sex should have separate beds."

[Children who weren't of the same sex or different sex could presumably make their own arrangements.]

This point of view persisted through the 20th century and continues to do so, although the inclusion of the quotation marks in this piece from Hans Sebald's Adolescence: A Social Psychological Analysis, 1968, suggests that the term had already another common meaning by the 1960s:

Analytical observers concluded that this type of dancing was "safe sex" for the teen-agers.

It may be that Sebald was drawing a distinction between his abstinence meaning and the birth control meaning. That was in vogue by the 1960s. For example, this piece from the Vermont paper The Bennington Banner, March 1966:

"Sex outside the marriage bond is condemned, not for the naturalistic reasons put forth by some liberal Protestants, but because it violates the high, Christ - and - church analogy. Thus, the use of birth control devices to permit 'safe' sex before or outside of marriage is similarly unchristian."

Scot free


To escape pursuers or avoid payment.


Dred Scott was a black slave born in Virginia, USA in 1799. In several celebrated court cases, right up to the USA Supreme Court in 1857, he attempted to gain his freedom. These cases all failed but Scott was later made a free man by his 'owners', the Blow family. Knowing this, we might feel that we don't need to look further for the origin of scott free. Many people, especially in the USA, are convinced that the phrase originated with the story of Dred Scott.

The etymology of this phrase shows the danger of trying to prove a case on circumstantial evidence alone. In fact the phrase 'scot free' has nothing to do with Dred Scott.

Given the reputation of Scotsmen to be careful with their money we might look to Scotland for the origin of 'scot free'. Wrong again, but at least we are in the right part of the world now. A scot is a Scandinavian word for tax or payment. It came to the UK as a form of redistributive taxation which was levied as early the 13th century as a form of municipal poor relief. The term is a contraction of 'scot and lot'. Scot was the tax and lot, or allotment, was the share given to the poor.

Scot as a term for tax has been used since then to mean many different types of tax. Whatever the tax, the phrase 'scot free' just refers to not paying one's taxes.

No one likes paying tax and people have been getting off scot free since at least the 16th century. This reference from Vincent Skinner's translation of Reginaldus Gonsalvius Montanus's A discovery and playne declaration of sundry subtill practises of the holy inquisition of Spayne dates from 1598:

"Escape scotte free."

2007-10-24, 05:35
Saved by the bell


Saved by a last minute intervention.


This is boxing slang that came into being in the latter half of the 19th century. A boxer who is in danger of losing a bout can be 'saved' from defeat by the bell that marks the end of a round. The earliest reference to this that I can find is in the Massachusetts newspaper The Fitchburg Daily Sentinel, February 1893:

"Martin Flaherty defeated Bobby Burns in 32 rounds by a complete knockout. Half a dozen times Flaherty was saved by the bell in the earlier rounds."

There is a widespread notion that the phrase is from the 17th century and that it describes people being saved from being buried alive by using a coffin with a bell attached. The idea being that, if they were buried but later revived, they could ring the bell and be saved from an unpleasant death. The idea is certainly plausible as the fear of burial alive was and is real. Several prominent people expressed this fear when close to death themselves:

"All I desire for my own burial is not to be buried alive." - Lord Chesterfield, 1769.

"Have me decently buried, but do not let my body be put into a vault in less than two days after I am dead." - deathbed request of George Washington.

"Swear to make them cut me open, so that I won't be buried alive."- Frederic Chopin's last words.

Just as real were the devices themselves, several of which were patented in England and the USA. These were known as 'safety coffins' and designs were registered in the 19th century and up to as late as 1955. For example,

The Improved Burial Case. Patent No. 81,437 Franz Vester, Newark, New Jersey. August 25, 1868.
USA Patents Office

There's no evidence to show that these coffins were ever put to use though and there's a similar lack of evidence of the phrase ever being used in that sense prior to it having been used in boxing circles.

2007-10-25, 01:41
√ Copy Cat

√ Monkey Business

√ and something about aethiest and foxhole - relative to combat infantry
__________________________________________________ _____________________________________________

Having fun !

Enjoying your efforts, sterobbo ! :hatsoff:

2007-10-25, 01:48
√ and something about aethiest and foxhole - relative to combat infantry


2007-10-25, 03:39
"You are tighter than a Ducks's arse"!

I cannot find any meaning of this anywhere but being a Yorkshireman this is said to me a lot in jest.

Mainly said to me when I am complaininy about the cost of things.


Tight - Cheap/thrifty

A duck's arse is water tight

If anyone knows of a better origin of the phrase,please let me know.:thumbsup:

2007-10-25, 09:52
Rack your brains


To rack one's brains is to strain mentally to recall or to understand something.


The rack was a mediaeval torture device. The crude but, one presumes, effective racks often tore the victim's limbs from their bodies. It isn't surprising that 'rack' was adopted as a verb meaning to cause pain and anguish. Shakespeare was one of many authors who used this. For example, from Twelfth Night, 1601:

"How haue the houres rack'd, and tortur'd me, Since I haue lost thee?"

The term was called on whenever something or someone was under particular stress and all manner of things were said to be 'racked'. For example, in the Prymmer or boke of priuate prayer nedeful to be vsed of al faythfull Christians, 1553 there's a reference to the racking, i.e. increasing, of land rent:

"They may not racke and stretche oute the rentes of their houses"

The first recorded use of this being specifically applied to brains is in William Beveridge's Sermons, circa 1680:

"They rack their brains... they hazard their lives for it."

The same idea was used by the composer William Byrd a century (1583) earlier when he wrote:

"Racke not thy wit to winne by wicked waies."

Monkey Business.

"Foolish or mischievous activity. One assumes the sly, alert, advantage-taking behavior of the monkey gave rise to this notion." This source cites a use of the phrase "monkey business" in a 1904 Brooklyn Standard Union newspaper article. From "The Dictionary of Cliches" by James Rogers (Ballantine Books, New York, 1985). A second reference has earlier dates for the phrases. " 'You may have barefooted boys cutting up 'monkeyshines' on trees with entire safety to themselves,' observes one of the earliest writers to use 'monkeyshines,' monkey-like antics, which is first recorded in 1828. 'Monkey business' was recorded a little earlier, at the beginning of the century, both words suggested by the increasing number of monkeys imported by America's growing circuses and zoos." From From "Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins" by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997). I heard another more recent use of the term "monkeyshines." A young black comedian in the U.S. said older blacks had accused him of "cutting monkeyshines" in front of a white audience - acting in a stereotypical demeaning manner to get laughs.

2007-10-25, 10:17
As fit as a butcher's dog


Very fit.


The allusion is to a butcher's dog, which would be expected to be very well fed from scraps. Why that is considered to epitomize fitness isn't clear, as it might be thought more likely that the dog would be overweight than fit. John Camden Hotten, in A Dictionary of Modern Slang, Cant and Vulgar Words, 1859, defined 'butcher's dog' this way:

"To be like a butcher's dog, i.e. lie by the beef without touching it; a simile often applicable to married men."

That's clearly a different meaning, i.e. butcher's dog was then a metaphor for 'something we are close to but cannot have'. That meaning has gone out of use.

2007-10-26, 08:01
Kangaroo court


An unauthorized, bogus court.


Kangaroo courts are sham legal proceedings which are set-up in order to give the impression of a fair legal process. In fact, they offer no impartial justice as the verdict, invariably to the detriment of the accused, is decided in advance. Such courts are associated with groups who have found a need to dispense a rough and ready form of justice but are, temporarily at least, outside the bounds of formal judicial processes. For example, inmates in jail, soldiers at war, settlers of lands where no jurisdiction has yet been established.

The origin of 'kangaroo court' is unknown, although, given that kangaroos are native nowhere else, we might expect the term to have originated in Australia. As always, a lack of a definite origin encourages speculative claims, which may be an appropriate word in this context as one frequently repeated supposed derivation relates to 'claim jumping' in the California Gold Rush - hence the allusion to kangaroos. That's quite a plausible notion. Kangaroos and their claim to fame, so to speak, i.e. jumping, were known in the USA by the early 1800s, so there's no reason to limit the derivation to Australia. Also, the earliest known citation of the term is American and appears in a collection of magazine articles by Philip Paxton (the pen name of Samuel Adams Hammett), which were published in 1853 under the title of A stray Yankee in Texas:

"By a unanimous vote, Judge G-- was elected to the bench and the 'Mestang' or 'Kangaroo Court' regularly organized."

The natural inclination to base the phrase in Australia has lead to suggestions that the vacant stares of kangaroos when meeting humans for the first time were mimicked by jury members in court. There's no documentary evidence to support this, or any other Australian derivation, and it seems highly speculative.

The claim jumping derivation though has the feel of a 'trying to hard' explanation that is the stamp of folk etymology. The supposed wordplay of linking kangaroos and jumping is appealing but isn't really necessary to explain this phrase. Kangaroo courts courts were also called 'mustang courts' in the USA (see above). Allusions to the unsophisticated natures of wild animals are frequent in the metaphorical coinage of phrases that apply to things that are considered inferior or ersatz. We have dog Latin, dog's breakfast, horse-faced and many others. It seems probable that the reference to mustangs (half-wild horses) and kangaroos came about by that same route.

2007-10-26, 08:04
Paint the town red


Engage in a riotous spree.


The allusion is to the kind of unruly behaviour that results in much blood being spilt. There are several suggestions as to the origin of the phrase. The one most often repeated, especially within the walls of the Melton Mowbray Tourist Office, is a tale dating from 1837. It is said that year is when the Marquis of Waterford and a group of friends ran riot in the Leicestershire town of Melton Mowbray, painting the town's toll-bar and several buildings red.

That event is well documented, and is certainly in the style of the Marquis, who was a notorious hooligan. To his friends he was Henry de la Poer Beresford; to the public he was known as 'the Mad Marquis'. In the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography he is described as 'reprobate and landowner'. His misdeeds include fighting, stealing, being 'invited to leave' Oxford University, breaking windows, upsetting (literally) apple-carts, fighting duels and, last but not least, painting the heels of a parson's horse with aniseed and hunting him with bloodhounds. He was notorious enough to have been suspected by some of being 'Spring Heeled Jack', the strange, semi-mythical figure of English folklore.

Melton Mowbray is the origin of the well-known Melton Mowbray pork pie - which could hardly have originated anywhere else. The town's claim to be the source of 'painting the town red' is more doubtful. It is at least plausible that it came from there of course, but no more plausible than Stony Stratford, Buckinghamshire being the source of 'cock and bull story' or Ashbourne, Derbyshire being the source of 'local derby' (which they aren't). Unfortunately, plausibility is as far as it goes. The phrase isn't recorded in print until fifty years after the nefarious Earl's night out. If that event really were the source of the phrase, why would anyone, or in this case everyone, wait fifty years before mentioning it?

Further evidence for the event, but against it being the phrase's origin, comes from a text below a picture of the revellers, dated 1837. The picture is labelled A Spree at Melton Mowbray and subtitled Or doing the Thing in a Sporting-like manner.

The date of the painting is certainly contemporary with the alleged incident and was reported on in the the New Sporting Magazine, in July 1837:

Mr. R. Ackermann, 191, Regent Street, has just published two more of the series of Sporting Anecdotes, illustrative of certain disgraceful proceedings termed "sprees," which took place at Melton Mowbray last season. In that intitled "Quick work without a Contract, by tip-top Sawyers," three gentlemen (?) in scarlet coats, small-clothes, and silk stockings, - comme il faut, - are seen engaged in painting the sign of the White Swan red; and two others of the same class are perceived painting the window of the Post Office in the same manner. Another of those "bloods" is making a stroke with his brush at the back of a flying watchman ; two others, like regular gutter-bullies, are engaged in personal contest with two watchmen, and three MEN in scarlet have a single watchman down and are daubing his face with paint.

The rhyme itself is headed Quick work without a contract. By tip-top sawyers:

Coming it strong with a Spree and a spread,
Milling the day-lights, or cracking the head;
Go it ye cripples! come tip us your mauleys,
Up with the lanterns, and down with the Charleys:

If lagg'd we should get, we can gammon the Beak,
Tip the slavies a Billy to stifle their squeak.
Come the bounce with the snobs, and a [blank] for their betters,
And prove all the Statutes so many dead letters.

That takes some deciphering but it is clearly a hymn of praise for going out and causing mayhem. It is heavy with the slang of the day and is in part translated into modern-day English like this:

To do was 'to rob or cheat'; sport was 'good fun or mayhem', so doing the thing in a sporting like manner would be to carry out the illegal revelry in high spirits.

Coming it strong with a Spree and a spread - spread here suggests the widespread mayhem,

Milling was fighting, so Milling the day-lights is the same as beating the living day-lights out of someone.

Go it ye cripples! - go it means, 'Keep at it! Fight hard'. Cripples may have its usual meaning, i.e. disabled. A cripple was also a misshapen sixpence. Neither meaning seems to make much sense here though.

Come tip us your mauleys - shake hands.

Down with the Charleys - a Charley was a night watchman.

If lagg'd we should get, we can gammon the Beak - lagged is caught or arrested; gammon was patter or humbug; a beak was (and still is) a magistrate.

Tip the slavies a Billy to stifle their squeak - Bribe the servants to keep them from informing. A billy could be either a truncheon or club or, more likely, a sovereign (£1) coin that bore the effigy of King William.

Come the bounce with the snobs - To bounce was either to beat, to make an explosion, to knock loudly (especially at a door), to brag or to bully. Any one of these is plausible. A snob was a person of low rank or a cobbler's apprentice.

and a [blank] for their betters - the blank I will leave to your imagination.

The picture portrays actual streets in Melton and it is very likely that it was a representation of a real event. The newspaper report describes the red paint in Ackermann's picture, although that is difficult to discern in later prints. Neither the text of the picture nor later reports mention the Marquis of Waterford or, more importantly, the phrase 'paint the town red'. Actually, as pointed out above, the first use of the phrase in print is quite a lot later - not until 1883 in fact, and in New York, not Leicestershire. The New York Times, July 1883 has:

"Mr. James Hennessy offered a resolution that the entire body proceed forthwith to Newark and get drunk... Then the Democrats charged upon the street cars, and being wafted into Newark proceeded, to use their own metaphor, to 'paint the town red'."

The other early references to the phrase also relate to America rather than England. The November 1884 edition of the Boston [Mass.] Journal has:

"Whenever there was any excitement or anybody got particularly loud, they always said somebody was 'painting the town red'."

The next is Rudyard Kipling. That's as English as you can get one would have thought. In this case though he too is referring to America - in his book Abaft Funnel, 1889:

"They would do their best towards painting that town [Chicago] in purest vermilion."

There are other theories too:

Jaipur (The Pink City) is the capital of the Indian state of Rajasthan. The old buildings of the city are constructed from pink sandstone. In 1853 it was painted pink in honour of a visit from Prince Albert. If that were the origin though, why don't we paint the town pink?

William and Mary Morris in their Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins say it probably originated on the American frontier. They link it to 'red light district' and suggest that people out for a night 'on the town' might very well take it into their heads to make the whole town red. Well, they might, then again they might not.

It is sometimes said to come from the US slang use of "paint" to mean "drink", When someone's drunk their face and nose are flushed red, hence the analogy.

As so often, there are plausible suggestions but no conclusive evidence, so the jury is still out on this one. Based on what we currently have, it seems that the phrase originated in the USA around 1883 - there are many US citations of the phrase in print for that year and none earlier. How it came to be coined isn't known, but it could well have been the events in Melton in 1837 that prompted the coinage. I'm sure many people would join those in Melton Mowbray in believing the rogue Marquess as the originating source, but they don't have quite enough evidence for a conviction. However, they do make exceedingly good pies.

2007-11-15, 07:38
Gross ! -

Bathtubs were a huge tub filled with hot water. The man of the house was always the first to bathe, then all the sons, then the women, followed by the children. The babies were the last to be washed and by then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it, which is where the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water," came from.

2007-11-15, 15:21
Great job, sterobb and facetious! I always enjoy reading the updates on this thread!

2007-12-25, 04:33
Great job, sterobb and facetious! I always enjoy reading the updates on this thread!

Thanks ! :)

* BUMP *

"She Was the Apple of My Eye"

"You Can't Make A Silk Purse Out of A Sow's Ear

2007-12-26, 05:45
One of my favs - "All hat. No cattle".

Meaning: Some one who is all talk but can't back it up with actions.


2008-07-02, 16:09
If you can find a "good" psychiatrist, I'll show you a hen with teeth lol !

√ You can't get blood out of a stone

√ You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear

2008-07-02, 16:45
Down the Tubes.

"The country is going Down the tubes"

What tubes? And why is there more than one?
Wouldn't just one tube be sufficient?
And just where the fuck are these tubes and where do they lead to?

And whats with the word off?
Kick off, take off,turn off pissed off, fuck off, jerk off,
Off what?
I makes no sense.

And one I despise: Have your cake and eat it too.
Of course I want to eat it. What else am I gonna do with it?
Its Cake for christs sake.
I would think "Have your cake and not want to eat it would be a better saying.
meaning being wasteful.

2008-07-02, 17:07
^ :rofl: Very good! Great delivery and humor. Really reminded me of a good standup routine.

One I always liked: "When the shit hits the fan."

It's obvious where the analogy and meaning comes from. When shit hits a fan, it goes all over the place, and everyone is screwed.


Where did it originate? Did this actually happen somewhere? I can't picture any scenario where shit would be anywhere near a fan, much less in a position to hit it. :dunno:

2008-07-02, 22:26
Funny how?
Funny like a clown?
Maybe its me, I'm a little fucked up.
What am I like a clown to you?
I'm here to amuse you?

2008-07-02, 23:11
^ :rofl:

Nah, you're not a clown, MP!

THIS is a clown!
http://img210.imagevenue.com/loc393/th_58149_mvimgdec_14086_0_123_393lo.jpg (http://img210.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=58149_mvimgdec_14086_0_123_393lo.jpg )

After seeing that pic, I vow to have at least one clown and one hot midget at all my parties.

2008-07-02, 23:14
Are you two OK, across the table from one another ?

Err am I gonna have to call security ? :rofl:

2008-07-03, 09:05
Stupid is as stupid does
Only heard Forest Gump and his mama say it but I never understood it.

Stupid is an adjective, How can an adjective perform an action?

The pot calling the kettle black
People in glass houses should'nt throw stones
Basically the same thing.

I want to make sure we're on the same page
What page?
See what I'm saying ?
No but I hear it just fine.

Your Momma
Yeah What about her?

For Pete's sake
Who the fuck is this Pete guy anyway?

You go girl
And don't come back

All that glitters is not gold
Who said it was?

The pen is mightier than the sword
Lets try it.

First things first
No shit.

If you want something done right, do it yourself.
But what if you suck at it?

You da man
And you the fuckin asshole

2008-07-03, 14:03
All that glitters is not gold
Who said it was?

I have always had kind of a pet peeve for this one. What it is saying is basically that everything that glitters isn't gold. But gold glitters, and that is gold! :dunno:

I think they should change it to "Not everything that glitters is gold." But of course it's too late for any changes now....

2008-07-03, 14:08
You know what I fucking hate?

"Plenty more fish in the sea"...

If I break up with a girl and hear that again I'm going to punch them in the face. I don't want a fucking fish, I want a girlfriend!

2008-07-04, 00:36
You know what I fucking hate?

"Plenty more fish in the sea"...

If I break up with a girl and hear that again I'm going to punch them in the face. I don't want a fucking fish, I want a girlfriend!

That sounds a little fishy. I'd rather hear "Theres alot more vagina to be had" myself
Actually derived from a statement made by Bruno Huaptman during the Lindbergh trial.

also according to Bart Simpons future vision "See ya later" will be replaced by "Smell ya later" in the future.
I can't wait.

2008-07-04, 02:10
^ What jumped out at me from that was: a little fishy, vagina, smell ya later Can't help but think they are all somehow related...

2008-07-04, 04:43
What about the expresson, "Out of whack"? What is this whack stuff and where can people find more of it?

2008-07-04, 23:38
^ What jumped out at me from that was: a little fishy, vagina, smell ya later Can't help but think they are all somehow related...

Ah you caught my subliminal message.

2008-07-05, 01:01
You also have the famous expression to "slap the greed out of someone". It is a Canadian express coming from Toronto. This expression means to beat the shit out of someone or to put someone at his place when he can't behave.

2008-07-15, 02:54
english is such a difficult language to master. One reason is all the phrasal verbs we use.
Get the picture?
Ask a non native speaker that and they'll probably ask " what picture ? "