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Thursday, 22 June 2017

Idiom: to put a sock in it

Definition: A command to be quiet, or less politely, to shut up!

Example: Mitchell was told to put a sock in it when he began the story of how his wife lost her skirt in the closing bus door.

 Origin:

Despite its relatively recent appearance, there seems to be no single accepted explanation for it. 
  • Early gramophones had no volume controls, so people used to stuff the horn with a sock to reduce the volume. Boy, the world was a harsh place before the digital age. Next, you’ll be telling us that they had to hand crank a handle to get the record spinning. Oh. They did, didn’t they.
  • Like the expression ‘bite the bullet’, it originates from battlefield medical procedures. The unfortunate soul being operated on in the trenches had a sock or other item of clothing stuffed in his mouth to muffle his screams. This was for the benefit of the surgeon, the soldier’s comrades, and to stop the enemy from pinpointing their position from the noise.
  • Simplest of all, it is your overwhelming urge when cornered by a dreadful bore; to jam a sock into the offending orifice. And the smellier the sock, the better.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Idiom: head in the clouds

Definition: To be impractical, absent-minded, or living in a complete fantasy.

Example: Whoever thought that The Exorcist was a suitable movie to show at the chidrens’ party must have had their head in the clouds.

Origin:

Iddy was unable to find any specific origination for head in the clouds beyond the mental image it conjures,up. Iddy, you’ve let us down. Again.
The phrase is older than you may think, first appearing in print in the mid-1600’s. Back then, only balloonists could physically get their heads in the clouds.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Idiom: long in the tooth

Definition: Elderly, past your prime.

Example: At the age of ninety-six, Herbert soon discovered he was a bit long in the tooth to dance the Macarena.

Origin:

It comes from the horse trade. The older a horse gets, the more its gums recede, making its teeth look longer. Thus, a horse that is ‘long in the tooth’ is old.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Idiom: Feeling blue

Definition: To be sad or depressed.

Example: Sandra was feeling blue as George Clooney hadn’t answered a single one of her 337 love letters to him.

Origin:
Feeling blue goes way, way back, first recorded in 1385, and during the intervening centuries, its origin has faded.
There are no shortages of theories though. Here’s a few.
  • The blue is referring to that of lifelessness, as in blue lips and skin.
  • The blue is referring to rain and storms, reaching even further back, into Greek mythology, where Zeus would make it rain when he was sad.
  • The blue is referring to an old naval custom, that of flying blue flags, or painting a blue band along the hull of a ship upon return to its home port if its captain had perished during the last voyage.