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Community Manager
Posts: 5,802
Registered: ‎18-02-2016

Idioms thread!

Hi everyone, 

 

Idioms! We use them every day without giving them a second thought but there are some really interesting origins behind these commonly used phrases. 

 

This article lists some of the regularly used idioms in the English language a long with their meanings and origins, some of which are hundreds of years old! I've listed a few of my favourites, and actually use in day to day life below. laughing

 

It's raining cats and dogs

Meaning: We Brits are known for our obsession with the weather, so we couldn’t omit a rain-related idiom from this list. It’s “raining cats and dogs” when it’s raining particularly heavily.

 

Example: “Listen to that rain!” “It’s raining cats and dogs!”

 

Origins: The origins of this bizarre phrase are obscure, though it was first recorded in 1651 in the poet Henry Vaughan’s collection Olor Iscanus. Speculation as to its origins ranges from medieval superstition to Norse mythology, but it may even be a reference to dead animals being washed through the streets by floods.

 

Fat chance 

Meaning: We use the expression “fat chance” to refer to something that is incredibly unlikely. Bizarrely, and contrary to what one might expect, the related expression “slim chance” means the same thing.

 

Example: “We might win the Lottery.” “Fat chance.”

 

Origins: The origins of this expression are unclear, but the use of the word “fat” is likely to be a sarcastic version of saying “slim chance”. A similar expression is “Chance would be a fine thing”, which refers to something that one would like to happen, but that is very unlikely.

 

Call it a day 

Meaning: This means to stop doing something for the day, for example work, either temporarily or to give it up completely.

 

Example: “I can’t concentrate – let’s call it a day.”

 

Origins: The expression was originally “call it half a day”, first recorded in 1838 in a context meaning to leave one’s place of work before the working day was over. “Call it a day” came later, in 1919.

 

Bite off more than you can chew 

Meaning: If you “bite off more than you can chew”, you have taken on a project or task that is beyond what you are capable of.

 

Example: “I bit off more than I could chew by taking on that extra class.”

 

Origins: This saying dates back to 1800s America, when people often chewed tobacco. Sometimes the chewer would put into their mouth more than they could fit; it’s quite self-explanatory!

 

Let me know which idioms are your favourites and which ones you use regularly! wink

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Posts: 71,606
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Registered: ‎14-01-2013

Re: Idioms thread!

I use plenty of idioms innocent

 

Not a cat in hells chance (Meaning not going to happen)

Don't give up the day job (Meaning you aren't very good at that....so don't even try it professionally)

Caught between a Rock and a Hard place (Meaning difficulty in making the right choice)

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Posts: 13,155
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Registered: ‎14-01-2014

Re: Idioms thread!

"Sent to Coventry"
Meaning to ignore and cut off someone as if they no longer exist.
The origins of this idiom are not 100% known though, it's most likely though from the civil war when royalist prisoners were sent to be held in Coventry.
A local belief that it is from the story of peeping Tom is probably not true as the phrase was never recorded anywhere until 1647.


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Re: Idioms thread!

"Do you need a menu?" offered when someone is fumbling around trying to do something, ie "making a meal of it" which itself means to spend more time and energy on some task than it warrants; to make something overly complicated.
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Community Manager
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Re: Idioms thread!

These are great guys! I've heard most of them but not "Do you need a menu?joy I'm totally pinching that one. cool

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Re: Idioms thread!

Man the Fort. (To mind or take charge of a location during the time in which it is unattended by another)

Right off the bat (Do something immediately without delay)

Tighten the reins (Tighten control of someone or something)

So basically when @Martin-O2 is off duty then @Marjo has to man the fort, right off the bat and probably has to tighten the reins a bit.....LOL

There you go Bow

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Re: Idioms thread!

You really hit the nail on the head there @Cleoriff tongue winking Although its usually @Marjo who has to Tighten the reins joy

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Community Manager
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Re: Idioms thread!

[ Edited ]

We have some weird idioms in my language too:

 

When something goes missing and we cannot find it, we say it "vanished like a fart in the Sahara" (vanished in thin air).

 

When someone's involved with a lot of different things at the same time, they "have a spoon in every soup" (instead of finger in every pie)

 

When we think someone's a bit daft, we say "it's dark in their attic".

 

If you "get your skis crossed" it means you mixed something up.

 

When something's water under the bridge, we say it's "snow of the past winter".

 

Watching someone attempting to do something and I can do it better, I'll tell them that I can show them how it's done - or "Let me show you where the chicken pees from". Smiley Very Happy

 

Plus, not sure if it's strictly an idiom as it's only one word, and I'd love to hear if you have an English equivalent for this. Smiley Very Happy "Kalsarikännit" means getting drunk at home in your underwear with no intention of going out or doing anything else.

 

We have loads more fun ones but @Martin-O2 would moderate my post right off the bat if I actually wrote them here. laughing

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Posts: 71,606
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Registered: ‎14-01-2013

Re: Idioms thread!

@MarjoI love the 'let me show you where the chicken pees from'.

I could use that one on numerous occasions at home so will pinch it ...joy

*The Game Is On*


Posts: 71,606
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Registered: ‎14-01-2013

Re: Idioms thread!

Oh and for someone a bit daft we say

'They're two sandwiches short of a picnic' or 'The lights are on but no one's home'

*The Game Is On*