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Etymology of English phrases

 
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gingertop




 
 
 


Post  Wed, Dec 05 2018, 5:59 pm
So I just discovered the etymology of rule of thumb, which might be based on the belief that it was English Law in the 18th century that a man was allowed to beat his wife with a stick as thick as his thumb Surprised


What are your favorite English phrases and their etymologies?
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gamzehyaavor




 
 
 


Post  Wed, Dec 05 2018, 9:27 pm
Not my favorite! I hate the "for crying out loud" phrase.
I recently read a book with short stories and I think every story used this phrase at least once Punch
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thunderstorm




 
 
 


Post  Wed, Dec 05 2018, 9:35 pm
"Hold your horses"
The saying originated when horse drawn wagons were still used and you wanted them to wait for you etc.

It is used to say "hang on, wait, don't jump to conclusions so fast etc"
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Iymnok




 
 
 


Post  Thu, Dec 06 2018, 2:05 am
"The whole nine yards"
There is no source for where this is from. We may think football, but nine yards doesn’t mean much there, and it’s only a segment.
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imasoftov




 
 
 


Post  Thu, Dec 06 2018, 2:33 am
gingertop wrote:
So I just discovered the etymology of rule of thumb, which might be based on the belief that it was English Law in the 18th century that a man was allowed to beat his wife with a stick as thick as his thumb Surprised

I think it might be more accurate to say you just discovered a purported etymology of the phrase which is probably wrong.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/....._etymology
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Rappel




 
 
 


Post  Thu, Dec 06 2018, 6:20 am
Rule of wrist, anyone? Wink

Another dark idiom: Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Back in the days when a family used one tub to bathe, the master of the house would bathe first, and everyone would follow, with the baby being last. By that time, the water was so murky that you had to be careful not to lose him in there!
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DrMom




 
 
 


Post  Thu, Dec 06 2018, 7:08 am
Sleep tight!

Early beds did not have mattresses did not have box springs. Instead the mattress (a bunch of thick blankets and maybe a layer of straw) sat in a wooden frame strung with a warp and weft of tightly tied ropes. Over the course of the evening, the weight of the sleeper stretched the ropes and the mattress sagged slightly. Before going to be the following evening, the ropes would be retied and so they stretched taut to support the weighty mattress.
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mommy3b2c




 
 
 


Post  Thu, Dec 06 2018, 8:54 am
The word OKAY.

It stands for “all correct”.

Back when the word first came in to use, it was a “thing” to spell words with random spellings. One such incorrect spelling was “oll korrect” which was shortened to OK and then became the word okay.

I love this thread. I find the English language fascinating.
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Iymnok




 
 
 


Post  Thu, Dec 06 2018, 3:42 pm
Goodbye
It was considered slang and inappropriate for the educated class. It was short for god be with you.
It was said by the valedictorian of Harvard in his commencement speech.
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mommy3b2c




 
 
 


Post  Thu, Dec 06 2018, 3:52 pm
Iymnok wrote:
Goodbye
It was considered slang and inappropriate for the educated class. It was short for god be with you.
It was said by the valedictorian of Harvard in his commencement speech.


Cool!!!
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simcha2




 
 
 


Post  Thu, Dec 06 2018, 5:48 pm
Iymnok wrote:
"The whole nine yards"
There is no source for where this is from. We may think football, but nine yards doesn’t mean much there, and it’s only a segment.


I'd learnt that nine yards was the length of the bullet strip for a Gatling gun. So the whole nine yards, means the whole thing.
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FranticFrummie




 
 
 


Post  Thu, Dec 06 2018, 5:58 pm
I love etymology, but entomology really bugs me. Wink
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dankbar




 
 
 


Post  Thu, Dec 06 2018, 7:44 pm
Yiddish ones as well?
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dankbar




 
 
 


Post  Thu, Dec 06 2018, 9:44 pm
I can only think of one Yiddish one right now
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