We often say things without thinking what they really mean. Or what they could mean…
Bite the bullet: It generally means to accept something unpleasant and continue. If the bullet is coming at you, biting it doesn’t seem like a good idea. At best, it’s not a good taste and could probably use some butter or preparation by Julia Childs. Those references will makes sense later.
Blood is thicker than water: I think it depends on the temperature doesn’t it? And who really cares? Is there ever a time you have to choose between pouring blood or water?
Break the ice: Usually means to loosen up or lighten up a social situation. Why not call it “melt the ice”? I never break the ice unless I want to butter someone up.
Butter someone up: Have you ever thought of all the possible sexual meanings of this phrase? Of course you might have to butter someone up in the verbal sense before you get to do it in the other ways.
Give someone the cold shoulder: If you don’t butter someone up effectively they might give you the cold shoulder. If just your shoulder is cold you probably have a serious circulation problem, or if it’s your left shoulder you’re having a heart attack and should call a doctor immediately after you finish reading this and have clicked Like.
Go cold turkey: If your turkey is cold, bring it in the barn! If you butter up your cold turkey you might want to consult Julia Childs. Oh wait, you can’t consult her because she kicked the bucket. (also, contrary to rumors I did not break the ice and butter up Julia Childs. The relationship was doomed from the start and I had to bite the bullet and go cold turkey.)
Kick the bucket: How in the world did this come to mean death? Maybe in plague ridden London a thousand years ago they kept the dead in buckets? I’m sure I could look up the meaning, but where’s the fun in that. I’m guessing that when someone was beheaded with a guillotine their head fell in a bucket.
More than you can shake a stick at: An excellent term for measuring a bunch of stuff. I carry a big stick with me all the time just for this purpose.
Rub you the wrong way: Isn’t it the worst when someone butters you up and then rubs you the wrong way? Do you prefer clockwise or counter-clockwise?
Saved by the Bell: I actually looked up the meaning of this one. Besides being the name of a badly acted 90’s show about high school kids played by 30 year olds, it comes from the olden days when coroners weren’t very good at their jobs. They buried people they thought were deceased but ran a string from inside the coffin up through the ground to a pole with a bell on it. If a person presumed to be dead woke up in a coffin they could pull the string, ringing the bell and alerting a watchmen that would dig them up. How many mistakes did they make before they came up with this system?
Waking up on the wrong side of the bed: Sometimes if someone broke the ice on my cold shoulder and I have too much butter on me I slip over to the wrong side of the bed.
As always, if you enjoyed #ThePhilFactor please share as many times as you can shake a stick at by hitting the Facebook, Twitter, or reblog buttons below. Have a great Saturday! ~Phil
Great idea for a blog post.
Shake a leg, Hop in the Shower….Oh, and Break a Leg, too. why on earth would you wish that to someone who’s getting ready to perform on stage? Where did these saying come from?? Great post, as always 🙂
I find your blog so highly educational, it’s a blessing in disguise.
Hey, the saying that really rubs me up the wrong way is “It’s the exception that proves the rule.” What in aitch is that supposed to mean???
What would be the best comment here?
My judgement I do doubt
Somehow I always end up
Putting my foot in my mouth
And have I learned my lesson yet?
By now you’d think I should
Cause it really smells kind of foul
And don’t taste very good.
Applause! Applause! More! More!
Interesting. We say we’re sending someone to Coventry when we are ignoring them on purpose
I bet you could do a post about similar sayings in the U.K. I’d love to see it.
I’ll add to my ever increasing list lol
I learned just how many of these idioms I use in daily speech when I go to Taiwan and they look at me as if I have two heads. What this mean? Crack you up? What this mean? Small Potatoes? And so on.
I’d love to see some other bloggers from other countries do similar posts about sayings from their country.
I’d assume ‘rub me up the wrong way’ comes from animals. If you stroke my cat from her tail towards her head, she bites your hand off.