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Many everyday sayings have a place in history


By Tara Yilmaz

→ Did you know some of your everyday sayings are called idioms? Phrases like, break a leg, cost an arm and a leg or hit the hay are defined as expressions that typically present a figurative, non-literal meaning attached to the phrase according to

People hear and say them all the time in movies, music, poetry, around the office, at home, and passing conversations. To make a long story short, idioms are embedded in the English language.

→ Did you know some idioms have dark origins? For instance, “meeting a deadline” seems harmless enough to repeat, set a reminder, or give an order to a subordinate. Historically, that idiom originated during the Civil War. When a prisoner of war escaped and crossed the line, he would then be killed. Throughout time, that phrase morphed into colloquial language and eventually washed away the stain of its beginning.

The same goes for “pulling my leg.” Usually said when one is being pranked or being fooled by someone who has too much time on their hands.

This expression was made popular in the United Kingdom and dates back to Victorian London but not for the reason you may think. During that era, dragging a person by the leg was a common method for robbers to steal possessions.

The self-explanatory “mad as a hatter” saying is forever associated with Lewis Carroll’s 1865 novel “Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland.” Also, dated back to Victorian times. People who were suffering from mental health problems caused by mercury poisoning were referred to as “mad as a hatter.”

→ Did you know William Shakespeare coined the idiom “be-all, end-all?” The phrase first appeared in Macbeth, 1605. This famous line appeared in the soliloquy in Act 1, Scene VII, when Macbeth was contemplating assassinating King Duncan of Scotland and seizing the throne for himself.

If it were done when ‘tis done, then ‘twere well

It were done quickly: if the assassination

Could trammel up the consequence, and catch,

With his surcease, success; that but this blow

Might be the be-all and end-all here

Credited as being the creator of the Shakespearian language which is not a piece of cake to learn. Shakespeare also invented words such as fashionable and uncomfortable. One can view the ability to create words that contribute to the English language as an accomplishment, but all that glitters is not gold. Sometimes, jealousy is the green-eyed monster and Shakespeare was plagued by a cold-blooded critic Robert Greene.

He repeatedly accused Shakespeare of plagiarism and denoted his work by calling him an “upstart crow.” Greene calling Shakespeare an “upstart crow” killed two birds with one stone.

First, it tainted his work and second, it infuriated the legendary playwright. The feud between Greene and Shakespeare lasted approximately 10 years according to Washington University in St. Louis. A decade-long feud usually isn’t one-sided. It takes two to tango, and those two metaphorically tangoed without cutting each other some slack.

→ Did you know you can make a story out of idioms? It’s easy as 1,2,3.

All you have to do is make a list of the idioms of your choice and put them together in a logical format that tells a story or an article. If done correctly, you could blow your readers away. How many idioms did you count? Your guess is as good as mine.



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