Have you ever stopped to really listen to some of the idioms we use all the time? Some are weird, some funny and some downright disgusting. All of them are likely to generate mental images that give you pause.
Here are a few that I’ve heard recently:
Pay through the nose.
Pay an arm and a leg.
Raining cats and dogs.
Kick the bucket.
It’s not rocket science/brain surgery.
Lost your marbles.
And the biggest head-scratcher for me: “S–t eating grin.” While some of the others seem fairly reasonable for how they’re used and the origins are easy enough to uncover, I just can’t wrap my mind around anyone ever, ever, ever being thrilled to eat, um, turds.
Our family has an idiom or two of our own. Our favorite is “Normally, people order rice.” The saying originated after an embarrassing incident in a Thai restaurant when my husband (then fiancé) and I were trying to low-carb it before our wedding. Apparently, Atkins and Thai cuisine don’t really mix. *shrug* Anyway, the saying is now often used whenever someone around us is doing something weird or unusual. Which, in our family, is a lot.
Perhaps it’ll one day fall into common usage.
Probably not though. And that’s probably best.
Here are a few amusing/disturbing articles on the origins of common sayings:
- Cracked’s take on the history of a few common sayings.
- Listverse’s take on the a few more common sayings.
- And one more list of common sayings and their origins from the Mirror.
- The wiki on idioms.
- The Word Detective tackles “Pay through the nose” and “Spitting image.”
- The Phrase Finder finds the origin of “Pony up.“
- And the origin of my not-so-favorite idiom. You know which one I’m talking about.
What are your favorite/least-favorite sayings? Any sayings you’ve invented?