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Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

(OP)
There have been a number of threads recently where some idioms have been used where the meaning was lost for some readers. I wish I could remember the most recent one that was a great example but alas, it is not to be. (Something about a gentleman riding a trolley? - UK origin)

My father was a significant user of many sayings. Most confuse me to this day (He is a Newfoundlander with all that that entails)

One of his more colorful expressions was regarding the consumption of spicy food. He would say "Boy, That'll sure cauterise the hemorrhoids" This example does not require any interpretation, context or cultural exposure. I've found myself to be quite entertained by some of the colloquialisms that are out there that have meaning withing a select group of people but none outside of it.

I am reminded of an episode of Star Trek TNG where an alien species can only communicate via metaphor.

I'm sure we've all got some good ones.

Lets hear them, and give us the meaning if necessary and where it might be used.

I expect that quite a few of these might come from Australia but that may just be a bias on my part.

**********************************************
What's most important is that you realise ...  There is no spoon.

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

While living in the UK, I heard many expressions that were both amusing and (occasionally) imperceptible:

Quote:

"He's a real bovvah boy." (He gets into fights [bothers] alot.)

"He's as much use as a chocolate teapot." (i.e., not very useful or intelligent)

"He looks as if his mother stood on his face to wind the clock up."

"Don't get your knickers in a twist."

"Go polish the bolt in yer neck."

"He's a plonker." (...a silly boy.)

"Are you as daft as you look?"

"Stop goin' 'round the houses." (Get to the point.)

"Can I bum a fag, mate?" (The first time I heard this one, I ran away. Then I found out that the bloke just wanted a cigarette...Whew!)

 santaMufasa
(aka Dave of Sandy, Utah, USA)
"People may forget what you say, but they will never forget how you made them feel."

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

(OP)
Yes, that's what I'm talking about. A couple of those definitely need explanations.

This thead might turn into S*%T my dad says but the Useless as... could probably be a thread all on its own.

My Dad would say "Useless as Teats on a Bull." (yes, teats)

**********************************************
What's most important is that you realise ...  There is no spoon.

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

Quote:

'ee yer as daft as a broosh!

Sit still!  Yer up and down like a wh*res drawers!

Annihilannic
tgmlify - code syntax highlighting for your tek-tips posts

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

This thread, combined with the approach of the holiday season, reminds me of the famous beginning of A Christmas Carol, in which Dickens took time to poke a little fun at one well known cliche.

Quote (Charles Dickens):

Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail.

Mind! I don't mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a door-nail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the Country's done for. You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a door-nail.

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

When leaving, my Aunt used to say, "Well, I'm off like a dirty shirt!"
 

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

I had an Uncle that, when surprised or amazed by something, would say, "Stars and garters!!!" To this day I have no idea what he meant by that, other than by context.

 

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

Quote (Sam):

"Stars and garters!!!" To this day I have no idea what he meant by that
Actually, Sam, I'll bet that most people who use that term (mostly elderly folks like me <grin>) don't know what it means or where it comes from either. But here's the rest of the story...

The Noble Order of the Garter is the highest heraldic "honour" that a British monarch can bestow (or receive) since its first bestowal in 1348. The medal itself appears on a gold star. So, if you have "Stars and Garters" you are of highly decorated nobility. (Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, and Prince William all have and display their Noble Order of the Garter medal as part of their military uniforms at very formal events.)

As the phrase, "Oh my stars and garters" was originally coined, it represented an oath taken against any "honours" that the speaker might ever have earned in her/his life. It has become, in modern times, simply an exclamation of surprise.

 santaMufasa
(aka Dave of Sandy, Utah, USA)
"People may forget what you say, but they will never forget how you made them feel."

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

kwb - perhaps the man on the trolley was 'The man On The Clapham Omnibus', by which we understand (or are given to understand by our 'betters' the legal profession), that whatever is being considered reasonable must also be regarded as reasonable by the 'average' (middle class) person who might conceivably travel on the Clapham Omnibus to his employment in The City of London or similar. Something of an antiquated consideration now, but still used occasionally.

The Dickens quote is interesting, but my understanding is that a nail becomes 'dead' when it has been hammered flush to the surface it is being hammered into.

'Star and Garter' as a pub name is quite common in the UK.

For myself, my late Dad's expression on hearing of another of my misdemeanours was usually 'Hells bells and ruddy big fishes, now what?'. I must do more reasearch into that.

My Mum, when having been asked to get me something to avoid my having to move my backside would usually be 'Why, have you got rag arms?'.

 

The internet - allowing those who don't know what they're talking about to have their say.

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

One of my favourites is <getting sense out of him> is like trying to knit fog.  Replace <> with any activity the difficulty of which you want to emphasise.

When I was a lad, two common expressions of surprise were...

ee, well I'll go t' foot of our stairs

or

eee, well, I'll go to our gate.

...Don't ask me why.

Anybody not thought to be doing anything useful would be told...

don't stand there like one of Lewis'.

Along similar lines, last night my wife, who is a left-ponder, once again accused me of being the only person she knows to use a particular adjective - one which I think of as perfectly normal if "slang".  The word is jammy.  As in "that bloke's a right jammy bugger".

So I'm curious.  How many of you know what it means?

Tony

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

'left ponder'
as a 'right ponder' I like that one & the term 'right ponder' even better as it could mean either right hand site or correct winky smile

Computers are like Air conditioners:-
Both stop working when you open Windows

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

Tony - jammy was/is a normal expression in my (UK) experience, being an expression of how lucky someone is. Without looking it up I'd guess it refers to the luck someone might have if the bread falls butter, or jam, side up rather than down! Alternatively perhaps jam causes luck to stick to someone.

Just to clarify - Lewis' as in the Department Store dummy, yes?

The internet - allowing those who don't know what they're talking about to have their say.

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

If you're spoiling for a fight, leave me out of it.  I get enough left/right sparring at home.

I really do like your sig BTW.  Whilst I am not an IT bod myself, I know quite a few friends who are.  I've yet to find one who does not think it is funny.

Tony

 

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

Ken,

Correct, of course, on both counts.

Just to be clear, my previous comment was directed at IPGuru.  I sent it before seeing your post.

As to the origin, I have no idea.  I was surprised though to find it is not listed in Chambers (full version).  I had consulted there with the intention of proving the wider acceptance of the word, but failed to find it - much to my chagrin.

Tony

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

Here are a few that I remember:

chewing the fat - talk about something.
by hook or crook - gaining by every means possible.
go through the mill - SOHK - gain experience through hard work.
the whole kit and caboodle - everything
up sh*ts-creek without a paddle - one is in really bad trouble...
a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush (or on a roof) - be satisfied with what you have gotten...
a drop in the bucket / A drop on a hot stone - a contribution is miniscule or basically of little worth...
can't cut the mustard - not good enough to compete/participate...
cut to the chase - get to the point...
cutting the cheese - I wont go on to explain this one... winky smile
Knock On Wood - avoiding bad luck...
cup of Joe - (what I am having now) a cup of coffee...

more to come, once I put them down on paper... and do please correct me, where I am wrong in the meaning...
 

Ben
"If it works don't fix it! If it doesn't use a sledgehammer..."
How to ask a question, when posting them to a professional forum.
Only ask questions with yes/no answers if you want "yes" or "no"

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

N1ghteyes
I was not picking a fight, just an observation

as to my sig I have to admit to stealing it from BSD's fortune cookie program (There are many more like it)
 

Computers are like Air conditioners:-
Both stop working when you open Windows

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

IPGuru, I did not actually think you were, per se, but I could imagine a few left hackles rising.  Maybe my domestic bouts have left me sensitive :)

Re "as useless as":
  a chocolate fire-guard
  a spare bed on a honeymoon
  a spare prick at a wedding
  a string shovel


Tony

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

Thanks Tony, on further reflection I guess jammy could also be related to the old expression 'do you want jam on it too?' meaning that despite a person's apparent good fortune they wish to have more - the jam as well as the butter perhsps.

The internet - allowing those who don't know what they're talking about to have their say.

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

Ken,

Good thinking that man!  I've not a clue whether it's right or not, but it is a nice idea.

Tony

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

Built like a brick . . . house. Made popular by a 70's song. The original phase was "built like a brick s*** house," meaning a brick building used to store human waste. It had to be well build or you could smell it. Hence, "built like a brick ... house" came to mean, well built. That term eventually came to me a well-endowed woman.

 

James P. Cottingham
I'm number 1,229!
I'm number 1,229!

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

I think my son came up with this phrase. I've never heard anyone else say it. When he would eat something very sour, he would say, "Ohhh, that makes my jaws rear up".

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

(OP)
@BigBadBen

One of yours is one of those common expressions that everyone knows what it means but close analysis makes no sense.

Cuts the mustard

I have always thought this to be an amalgamation of multiple sayings that has morphed into the current variation.

There is a military term about gathering together all people:
To Muster or make Muster

Then there is Making the cut

These combine to form Cut the mustard. (or so I believe)

**********************************************
What's most important is that you realise ...  There is no spoon.

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

"Colder than a well diggers butt" or that other word for butt.

which would be true if you dug an old fashion stone lined 20 meter  deep well.

sam
 

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

My fovourite is a south walean expression meaning hungover...

I'm proper armpits to breakfast!

Fee

"The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears, or the sea." Isak Dinesen

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

I think the "cut the mustard" is more likely to have evolved from the notion of mustard, as in the phrase "keen as mustard" or the phrase "the proper mustard" as being the genuine article, and being the best.  You can see mustard in this sense in O'Henry's early 1900 writings.  Since mustard was a superlative, cutting the mustard meant to not measure up to the genuine article, or not being excellent.

Originally, "cut the mustard" was an implicit negative statement, i.e. if you cut the mustard, then you did not measure up.  You cut the excellence.  Over time, however, the implied negative was replaced with an explicit negative so that if you didn't cut the mustard, then you didn't measure up.  That allowed for the positive connotation to cut the mustard being to measure up.

I wish I knew the evolution of some of the other idioms presented.

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RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

kwb,

My sensibilities would agree that "cut the mustard" arose from some form of "making the cut at muster", but the early "adjusters" of the phrase had no clue what "muster" was.

The other "contamination" of a phrase was one we oldsters used to use when playing "hide-and-go-seek". At the end of a round, all who were clever enough to stay hidden without being caught, we'd call them back in with "Ollie, Ollie oxen free". This is what the older kids were saying, so we said it, as well.

Little did any of us know that it came from misunderstanding the phrase, "All ye, All ye outs in free," meaning "All of you who are still out there hiding, can come in free now without losing."

santaMufasa
(aka Dave of Sandy, Utah, USA)
"People may forget what you say, but they will never forget how you made them feel."

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

Try this one on.   Most people don't have a clue what it means.  "rough as a cob".

Jim C.
 

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

Many many years ago, I was quite fluent in American Sign Language, even to the point of being a translator on occasions. While learning ASL, I came across a book that I love to this day. It's called "A Dictionary of Idioms for the Deaf".

Deaf people don't have the opportunity to learn a lot of the very common colloquialisms by hearing them in context, so when they "hear" someone say that "their ears are burning", or "someone let the cat out of the bag", their first interpretation is to take it literally. This dictionary is packed with clear explanations of idioms from the extremely common to the very obscure.

There are a lot of "Wordies" and language lovers in this forum. I think a lot of you would love this book. I keep mine next to my Websters, OED, and Roget's.
 

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

Cant squeeze blood from a turnip
Useless as t!ts on a boar
 

"Silence is golden, duct tape is silver..."

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

JCreamerII - I assume the cob reference is to a corn cob (specifically one from which the corn kernels had been removed), and that it applied to those sad times when neither goose-necks or tripple-ply, velvet-soft bog-roll were available, and alternative wiping materials had to be found.

Tony

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

Tony,

You'd be suprised how many people can't even get close.   I use it all the time, just to see the reaction, if any?   Just tells be how much they are paying attention.   And yes, the Sear's catalog must have been used up.

Jim  C.
 

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

==> Most people don't have a clue what it means.  "rough as a cob".
Ouch.

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Good Luck
To get the most from your Tek-Tips experience, please read
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Wise men speak because they have something to say, fools because they have to say something.  - Plato

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

"He could eat corn on the cob through a picket fence"
was a rather offensive description of a bucked toothed person.

FYI
In French, buck teeth are called dents à l'anglaise, lit. "English teeth."

 

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

There are plenty of Anglo-French insults knocking around.  E.g. "French Leave" = going AWOL.  

Tony

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

One I had forgotten about this one until a couple minutes ago courtesy of a fellow TT member:

Fly in the ointment   

"You don't now what you got, till its gone..
80's hair band Cinderella or ode to data backups???"

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

(OP)
I have seen 2 reasonable but not definitive origins for the expression:

The Whole 9 Yards

1) (my prefered) = the length of the magazine on a P51 Spitfire

2) = The amount of material required to make a high quality double breasted suit.

Thoughts opinions?

**********************************************
What's most important is that you realise ...  There is no spoon.

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

I heard it was the capacity of an (old) full concrete truck aka  but not correct "cement truck".

sam
 

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

kwbMitel,
    I've always heard #1 but it wasn't just the Spitfire that held 27 feet of bullets but most WWII single fighter planes, e.g., P-51 Mustang.
 

James P. Cottingham
I'm number 1,229!
I'm number 1,229!

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

(OP)
See - This is exactly how things get mixed up. I said P-51 Spitfire (not Mustang) Now I'm unsure which plane had the properties in fact. I'll go with 2ffat's assertion that most WWII single fighter planes had the required element.

I had not heard the Concrete/Cement Truck version although I can see how it might make sense as well. Although it might not "Cut the mustard" on the usage being before the existance of said truck.

KenCunningham - Re:'The man On The Clapham Omnibus' That is exactly what I was looking for. How I morphed Omnibus into Trolley is also an insight into what goes on to change some of these expressions over time.

  

**********************************************
What's most important is that you realise ...  There is no spoon.

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

getting back to the "Cuts the mustard", I always thought that cutting something was to dilute it...
thus "cutting the mustard" would make it inferior to the original deal...
or I have it mixed up and twisted around... which is quite possible... btw. I do like the explanation that CC wrote...

"rough as a cob" - yep, I knew that one, having crown up in the southern states, I came across that one...

now about the Anglo-French dissing, don't worry they are also present in German, e.g. "English einkaufen" (Shopping the English way) means to steal something...

about the "the whole nine yards" Wikipedia has an interesting tidbit about it... winky smile

and Santa, we used the phrase "Ollie, Ollie oxen free", exactly like that during my child hood as well...
 

Ben
"If it works don't fix it! If it doesn't use a sledgehammer..."
How to ask a question, when posting them to a professional forum.
Only ask questions with yes/no answers if you want "yes" or "no"

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

One I often heard when growing up in Lancashire (particularly prevalent in the days before central heating) was:

Put wood in't 'ole, i.e. close the door.

Somebody who was deceased was said to have popped his clogs.

Re international dissing: correct me if I'm wrong Ben, but don't the Germans also have some colourful phrases involving the French?  I'm told for example that, in some parts at least, a double bed is, or used to be, referred to as a French Bed, because two people actually sleeping together (as opposed to anything else which mught happen on a bed) was something so disgusting only the French would do it.

Tony
 

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

On a Jewish theme...

Quote:

Like a pork sandwich at a Jewish wedding - out of place

Is the pope Jewish? - no kidding?

Jammy is one I'm familiar with.  Flukey is a synonym of same.

Annihilannic
tgmlify - code syntax highlighting for your tek-tips posts

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

Quote:

getting back to the "Cuts the mustard", I always thought that cutting something was to dilute it...
thus "cutting the mustard" would make it inferior to the original deal...
That was my thought, too. Cutting the cheese, on the other hand, . . . <smurk>
 

James P. Cottingham
I'm number 1,229!
I'm number 1,229!

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

I always find Fluke to be an amusing piece of slang as they are also a manufacturer of electronic test equipment.

I really do not want my test results to be a "fluke" winky smile

Computers are like Air conditioners:-
Both stop working when you open Windows

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

I've always liked the phrase:

"You're not as green as you're cabbage looking"

Andy
---------------------------------
Zebracorn: 50% Zebra, 50% Unicorn = 100% Real.

http://lessthandot.com  

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

Two expressions for extreme thirst:
spitting feathers - UK
dry as a popcorn fart - US (at least according to my wife).

For some strange reason, some people also use spitting feathers to mean angry.  I'm not sure why.

Tony

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

To "throw your hat into the ring"

Curious on the origin of that one.....

"You don't now what you got, till its gone..
80's hair band Cinderella or ode to data backups???"

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

I heard one this morning that is new to me.  A couple of people were discussing a gentleman who always works behind the scenes, who gets very little recognition, but without whom the operation would fall apart.  He was described as "the straw that serves the drink".
 

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RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

Quote:

He was described as "the straw that serves the drink".

Sounds like a take off from the Reggie Jackson years as a NY Yankee.  He once described himself as "the straw that stirs the drink".

Randy

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

Yep and after Reggie hit those 3 homers, he was the cat's meow !

Sam
 

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

Quote:

spitting feathers - UK

I suspect that the origin is similar to the US expression, spitting cotton for extreme thirst.  

James P. Cottingham
I'm number 1,229!
I'm number 1,229!

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

(OP)
Twon common one's that were used in my presence today.

Making a silk purse out of a sow ear - self explanitory Metaphor IMO

.... and Bob's your uncle. Meaning: .... and it's all done.

Meaning is clear but how it got there is a great mystery to me.

**********************************************
What's most important is that you realise ...  There is no spoon.

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

Quote (kwb):

Twon common one's...
I like the idea of an integer, "twon" that is between one and two. <grin>

santaMufasa
(aka Dave of Sandy, Utah, USA)
"People may forget what you say, but they will never forget how you made them feel."

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

Quote (N1GHTEYES):

For some strange reason, some people also use spitting feathers to mean angry.  I'm not sure why.

I haven't heard that version, the one I usually hear is "spitting chips".  My guess is that it refers to chips of tooth after being punched, so you can imagine they'd be pretty angry!

Annihilannic
tgmlify - code syntax highlighting for your tek-tips posts

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

Santa,

Quote:

I like the idea of an integer, "twon" that is between one and two. <grin>
I can see that one, but only whilst counting down... winky smile
Nigh

Quote:

don't the Germans also have some colourful phrases involving the French?
yes they do... the only one that I can think of, is similar to the one in English, "auf Französich verabschieden" (take a french leave) means to disappear without saying "Good bye"...

Quote:

referred to as a French Bed, because two people actually sleeping together (as opposed to anything else which mught happen on a bed) was something so disgusting only the French would do it
actually, the size of such a bed, lies between Queen size (140cm) and King size [180 - 200 cm) with a mattress size of a 160 cm... the origin as to why the bed is called French-Bed, is that the style was used in France for quite a bit longer before it hit Germany... but it is possible, that the explanation you've given, is correct...


 

Ben
"If it works don't fix it! If it doesn't use a sledgehammer..."
How to ask a question, when posting them to a professional forum.
Only ask questions with yes/no answers if you want "yes" or "no"

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

On that subject, WWII German Army slang for a Frenchman was Schneckenfresser (snail devourer).

-- Francis
The brain is a wonderful organ; it starts working the moment you get up in the morning, and does not stop until you get to the office.
--Robert Frost

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

French Beds, can't say I've ever heard that one.

"Something so disgusting only the French would do it" is interesting too in that it implies the rest only share a bed for the 'other' purpose, sleeping apart in the normal course of events.

Perhaps that's why the French needed their 'lettres'!

The internet - allowing those who don't know what they're talking about to have their say.

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

==> actually, the size of such a bed, lies between Queen size (140cm) and King size [180 - 200 cm) with a mattress size of a 160 cm
That must be a twon mattress.
 

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Good Luck
To get the most from your Tek-Tips experience, please read
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RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

roflrofl

santaMufasa
(aka Dave of Sandy, Utah, USA)
"People may forget what you say, but they will never forget how you made them feel."

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

Hi,
In a movie based on an Oscar Wilde play ( The Good Woman) I heard one character advise a woman not to pay attention to the gossip about her since it was "all cats and bags" anyway,

I can find nothing on this so does anyone know its origin?

profile

To Paraphrase:"The Help you get is proportional to the Help you give.."

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

>> That must be a twon mattress.
now that was hilarious... thumbsup2

see the Urban Dictionary as to what they say twon is...

>> I can find nothing on this so does anyone know its origin?
it's probably a variation of the old and venerable "Let the cat out of the Bag", with it's meaning having skewed over the ages...

have a read: http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/let-the-cat-out-of-the-bag.html

Ben
"If it works don't fix it! If it doesn't use a sledgehammer..."
How to ask a question, when posting them to a professional forum.
Only ask questions with yes/no answers if you want "yes" or "no"

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

After the brick s#1thouse, here are some more brick-based idioms.

A phrase from a Wigan-born friend:
I'm so famished I could eat a buttered brick.

Another generally northern, brick-related expression (for use after one feels one has been insulted):
you talkin' t' me or chewin' a brick?

- the implication being that, either way, you are going to lose some teeth...

And to expand the "useless as..." sub-thread:
tha'rt as useless as a brick balloon

Tony
(generally a good egg and a real brick)
 

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

Quote (Ken):

'The man On The Clapham Omnibus', by which we understand (or are given to understand by our 'betters' the legal profession), that whatever is being considered reasonable must also be regarded as reasonable by the 'average' (middle class) person who might conceivably travel on the Clapham Omnibus to his employment in The City of London or similar. Something of an antiquated consideration now, but still used occasionally.

I can't fully agree with your parenthesised comments, Ken.

The fact that "the man on the Clapham Omnibus" has been associated with the legal profession is due to the phrase being used in court proceedings to mean "any reasonable person" or "man-in-the-street".

Furthermore, the phrase does not suggest "middle class," the City of London or any particular profession or occupation.

It is time for pacifists to stand up and fight for their beliefs.

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

In the spirit of your sig, hj, I would take issue with your dissing of my definition.

Tell you what, let's ask the man on the No. 88 shall we winky smile

The internet - allowing those who don't know what they're talking about to have their say.

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

Ken,
I'm with hj to an extent, but I'm prepared to be enlightened.  I'd always assumed that the phrase was simply equivalent to "the man in the street", aka "the average guy".  

Why do you believe that it specifically implies middle class?

Tony

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

Ken,

I believe that you are in the Inverclyde area.  If I look out of my office window (for the next couple of weeks, anyway) I may be able to see you.  Wave a giant model of the Clapham Omnibus and I'll wave back.  wavey3

It is time for pacifists to stand up and fight for their beliefs.

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

Tony - nothing specific, merely that the feeling that the middle class view is generally taken as the barometer of goodness, badness or indifference. That may well be a reflection on my own prejudices of course!

hj - I'll see what I can do. Not sure McGills do a number 88 though!

The internet - allowing those who don't know what they're talking about to have their say.

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

On occasions when my father felt the need to curse in company who might not approve of it, he was known to utter a sotto voce "aah, sh*t and two is eight".
 


Want to ask the best questions?  Read Eric S. Raymond's essay "How To Ask Questions The Smart Way".  TANSTAAFL!

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

(OP)
@sleipnir214 - I notice one in your signature. For those that read Heinlein anyway. TANSTAAFL!

**********************************************
What's most important is that you realise ...  There is no spoon.

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

Or, as the ancient Romans might have put it, Nullam gratuitum prandium.

-- Francis
The brain is a wonderful organ; it starts working the moment you get up in the morning, and does not stop until you get to the office.
--Robert Frost

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

@kwbMitel and Sleipnir214,

I love lunches... winky smile

back in the 80's, I used to be an avid reader of SciFi&Fantasy, and Heinlein was one of the more favored authors of mine (Asimov, Bradley, etc. being some of the others), which brings me back to par with the thread, "The Cat Who Walks Through Walls" was also a darn good novel...

 

Ben
"If it works don't fix it! If it doesn't use a sledgehammer..."
How to ask a question, when posting them to a professional forum.
Only ask questions with yes/no answers if you want "yes" or "no"

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

Time is relative, Lunch time doubly so. Douglas Adams

Computers are like Air conditioners:-
Both stop working when you open Windows

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

One saying that realy annoys me and I find pointless is

Quote:

You can't have your cake and eat it

What's the point in having a cake if you can't eat it? If I can't eat it, I don't want it!


another phrase my dad used to use , which took me years before I got it, is

Quote:

Dead bodies don't fall out of windows!

 

"In complete darkness we are all the same, only our knowledge and wisdom separates us, don't let your eyes deceive you."

"If a shortcut was meant to be easy, it wouldn't be a shortcut, it would be the way!"

MIME::Lite TLS Email Encryption - Perl v0.02 beta

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

I think the point about the cake saying is meant to be that after eating you can't still have it.

So, you can have your cake THEN eat it, but you can't have it AND eat it.

Tony

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

I thought the phrase implied you can't have everything not that the 'have' , meant to eat, perhaps that's why I never got it?

"In complete darkness we are all the same, only our knowledge and wisdom separates us, don't let your eyes deceive you."

"If a shortcut was meant to be easy, it wouldn't be a shortcut, it would be the way!"

MIME::Lite TLS Email Encryption - Perl v0.02 beta

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

no wait, are you saying the phrase means after using/eating something , you can't be left with it?

So you can't have a fag and smoke it?

"In complete darkness we are all the same, only our knowledge and wisdom separates us, don't let your eyes deceive you."

"If a shortcut was meant to be easy, it wouldn't be a shortcut, it would be the way!"

MIME::Lite TLS Email Encryption - Perl v0.02 beta

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

I wasn't saying that the "have" meant to "eat".  In this context, "have" means "continue to possess".  So you cannot "continue to possess" your cake after you have eaten it.

My understanding is that the phrase reflects the fact that there exist certain situations with mutually exclusive states.  For example, in most cases at least, when gambling, you can have a "sure thing" or "good odds", but not both.  In more uncertain realms, if you know precisely the momentum of a particle, you cannot know its position.

Tony

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

(OP)
Re:Have your cake and eat it too.

I have the same understanding as N1GHTEYES. It is a statement defining a paradox of 2 mutually exlusive states. I find it best to reverse the statement to clarify the meaning. Eat your cake and have it too. Once you have eaten your cake, you no longer have it. You cannot have (retain) your cake after you have eaten it.

**********************************************
What's most important is that you realise ...  There is no spoon.

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

got ya, I always read it as not being able to have everything, you can have your cake but you cannot eat it!

Hence my assumption, in that case there is no point therefore in having the cake.

As long as I can eat the cake, it's all good!

I will always accept the consequences winky smile

"In complete darkness we are all the same, only our knowledge and wisdom separates us, don't let your eyes deceive you."

"If a shortcut was meant to be easy, it wouldn't be a shortcut, it would be the way!"

MIME::Lite TLS Email Encryption - Perl v0.02 beta

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

All I can say is I've never been able to eat my cake without having it first. winky smile
 

James P. Cottingham
I'm number 1,229!
I'm number 1,229!

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

Our tour bus driver at a recent trip to Ireland described a group of road workers with their shovel handles resting on their chests as slackers, by saying:

"look at those lazy bums breast feeding their shovels"

sam

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

Another northern expression describing hunger -

"My stomach thinks my throat's been cut"

Tony

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

I've always wondered what 'done up like a kipper' actually means?

I know it stands for being screwed! No room to manoeuvre out of a situation.

But what do kippers have to do with it? I assume it means the fish and not the tie?  

"In complete darkness we are all the same, only our knowledge and wisdom separates us, don't let your eyes deceive you."

"If a shortcut was meant to be easy, it wouldn't be a shortcut, it would be the way!"

MIME::Lite TLS Email Encryption - Perl v0.02 beta

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

Ah kippers yes,  I'm so hungry my bellybutton's scraping my backbone!

sam
 

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

(OP)
1DMF re:Kippers.

Kippers are quite often used as bait.

**********************************************
What's most important is that you realise ...  There is no spoon.

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

kwbMitel
I didn't know that kippers were used as bait.  Bait for what?

It is time for pacifists to stand up and fight for their beliefs.

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

They'd work if anyone wanted to reel me in...

Tony

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

Taxi for N1GHTEYES!

It is time for pacifists to stand up and fight for their beliefs.

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

(OP)
That tidbit (Kippers) was courtesy of my dad who grew up in a fishing community. I have no idea what they were bait for. Only that they were and that the context makes sense for the saying.

**********************************************
What's most important is that you realise ...  There is no spoon.

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

Quote (IDMF):

No room to manoeuvre out of a situation.
That, IDMF, is the point of the metaphor...If you go down to your local supermarket, you will find kippers packed in a metal tin/can like sardines. They are tightly packed together with only fish oil taking up any additional space. (BTW, they are one of my favourite sandwich treats. So, like N1GHTEYES, kippers, used as bait, would catch me, as well.)

santaMufasa
(aka Dave of Sandy, Utah, USA)
"People may forget what you say, but they will never forget how you made them feel."

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

Really?  Nowadays they tend to be sold "as is" from the fish counter, or vacuum packed in a plastic pouch - usually one or two per packet.  In fact I don't think I can remember kippers ever being sold in tins.  Sardines, yes, pilchards too, not to mention salmon, tuna and anchovies.  But kippers?  I don't think so.  Not here anyway.

Or maybe I just never noticed.  Anyone want to correct me?

Tony

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

Try this very first link that popped up when I Googled for kippers. They are in a tin, and the price is not bad either: $2.71/can (when you buy 6 tins). I also like sprats which are similar to kippers. I buy them at my local Russian Market for about $1.49 / can.

I'm puzzled by your not being able to buy kippers in a tin...that's how I always bought them in the UK after I got hooked on them as a child in my English grandparents' home.

santaMufasa
(aka Dave of Sandy, Utah, USA)
"People may forget what you say, but they will never forget how you made them feel."

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

Fair enough.  I don't think I've seen them like that round here recently though.

I did also ask around the office if anyone could recall them being sold in tins.  Nobody could.

When did you become a tinned kipper junkie?

Tony

p.s. is that what they mean by junk food?

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

Quote (N1GHTEYES):

When did you become a tinned kipper junkie?
When I was about 8 years old (in 1960), when my grandpa offered me some on a cracker.

santaMufasa
(aka Dave of Sandy, Utah, USA)
"People may forget what you say, but they will never forget how you made them feel."

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

That might explain it then.  I was around in 1960, but I can't honestly say I remember much about it.

Tony

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

Tinned kippers are a poor substitute for the real thing.  Grilled (broiled to the yanquis) and served with butter and vinegar.  <drool>

It is time for pacifists to stand up and fight for their beliefs.

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

I've never heard of tinned kippers either?

Not that into fish anyway, with the exception of tuna sandwiches - yum yum!

I have another saying, I'm curious to what people thing it means...

Quote:

The devil's in the detail

Does that mean you shouldn't go into detail about anything?

Treat everything as abstract and conceptual?

"In complete darkness we are all the same, only our knowledge and wisdom separates us, don't let your eyes deceive you."

"If a shortcut was meant to be easy, it wouldn't be a shortcut, it would be the way!"

MIME::Lite TLS Email Encryption - Perl v0.02 beta

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

==> The devil's in the detail
To me that means that what sounds good on the surface may not be so clean once you look at the details.  To tie that into another common phrase, "the end justifies the means", the end may be wonderful, but the means to get there, not so much.  The devil is in the details.
 

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RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

Surströmming from Sweden comes in a tin but you do not want to open it in a confined space! underwater is recommended.
 

Computers are like Air conditioners:-
Both stop working when you open Windows

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

1DMF,

It means until you get into all of the details, you real don't know how bad a situation may be.   That you have to understand all of the details before you know where you stand.

And I don't eat fish from a can or tin.   Caught too many live ones to eat old fish.  Also spend too much time looking in a barrel of bait!

Jim C.
 

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

So the devil isn't in the detail if it's as good as it sounds?

"In complete darkness we are all the same, only our knowledge and wisdom separates us, don't let your eyes deceive you."

"If a shortcut was meant to be easy, it wouldn't be a shortcut, it would be the way!"

MIME::Lite TLS Email Encryption - Perl v0.02 beta

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

(OP)
@1DMF - Nothing is as good as it sounds = The devil is in the details.

**********************************************
What's most important is that you realise ...  There is no spoon.

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

Straight from the horses mouth.

After a quick research I get what it means, just a bit odd taken literally..

"You don't know what you got, till its gone..
80's hair band Cinderella or ode to data backups???"

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

@BBB - What is the origin of "Knock on wood"?

I can seem to find some speculation but nothing definitive...

"You don't know what you got, till its gone..
80's hair band Cinderella or ode to data backups???"

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

Around the New Orleans area, a vehicle safety inspection sticker is known as a "brake tag", which stems from the fact that the City of New Orleans, unlike most of the the rest of Louisiana, has its own inspection station where every car registered in the city had to show up once a year (back in the 60's it was every six months). The station not only checks that you can stop the car; you drive onto a platform at about 3 m.p.h. and stop on command from the inspector, and it measures the stopping power of all four wheels.

When I was in high school, I had a 1968 Volkswagen Beetle that failed this inspection something like four times, until the (exasperated) dealer finally found a clogged brake line to the right-rear wheel and replaced it.

And not far from my house is a sign that offers "Break Tags".

Yeesh.

-- Francis
The brain is a wonderful organ; it starts working the moment you get up in the morning, and does not stop until you get to the office.
--Robert Frost

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

(OP)
DrBob - My take on "straight from the horses mouth" sans research.

Related to "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth"

Observing a horses teeth/gums etc can give you great insights into its health and age much like counting rings on a tree stump.

Straight from the horses mouth therefore means:
  - Getting accurate information (better than taking a sellers word for it anyway)

**********************************************
What's most important is that you realise ...  There is no spoon.

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

@kwbMitel - Through my vigorous(about 2 minutes) research of Google, I didnt find anything like that.  I like the thought process though.  Being a deer hunter, I know you can tell a lot about deer via the dental structure, wear, etc. so it does correlate well with what I know already....

 

"You don't know what you got, till its gone..
80's hair band Cinderella or ode to data backups???"

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

Straight from the horses mouth, comes from horse racing.  When you were passing along a tip, if you said it was straight from the horses mouth, ment it was a lock.

Jim C.
 

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

DrBob,

about the Knock on wood (touch wood for you UKers) this is as good an explanation as it comes, (*) marks the one I think is probably the best explanation, and (+) the one that probably is not the root of the phrase at all:

Quote:

From MORRIS DICTIONARY OF WORD AND PHRASE ORIGINS

KNOCK ON WOOD:

(+) There are several theories about the origin of this very common practice. One goes back to the child's game of `tag.' In one version of this game the child who is able to touch a tree, thereby touching wood, is free from capture.

Then there is a Biblical theory that the wood symbolizes the cross on which Christ was crucified. In Galatians (6:14) we find `But God forbid that I should glory, save the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.' The theory here is that if you have made an exaggerated boast you will be forgiven if you turn your thoughts to the Cross.

(*) Still another notion is that `knocking on wood' goes far back into ancient times, when spirits were thought to live in trees. So should danger threaten, simply rap on the trunk of a tree and summon up the aid of the good spirit within.

There is an Irish belief that you `knock on wood' to let the leprechauns know that you are thanking them for a bit of good luck. (this one goes with the one above)

A Jewish version says it originated during the Spanish Inquisition under Torquemada during the 1490s. During that time Jews were in flight and since temples and synagogues were built of wood, they evolved a code to use in knocking on doors to gain admission. Since this resulted in lives being saved, it became commonplace to `knock on wood' for good luck.

Ben
"If it works don't fix it! If it doesn't use a sledgehammer..."
How to ask a question, when posting them to a professional forum.
Only ask questions with yes/no answers if you want "yes" or "no"

RE: Idioms Cliches Colloquialisms Etc...

Quote:

"Don't look a gift horse in the mouth"
Thanks for clearing that up Mitel.
Makes sense, it was a gift, be grateful, don't go checking it out like you were buying it!

"In complete darkness we are all the same, only our knowledge and wisdom separates us, don't let your eyes deceive you."

"If a shortcut was meant to be easy, it wouldn't be a shortcut, it would be the way!"

MIME::Lite TLS Email Encryption - Perl v0.02 beta

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