Showing posts with label Expressions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Expressions. Show all posts

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Under the Weather, Again

Today is day 23 of the 30 minus 2 days of writing hosted by Nicky and Mike of We Work For Cheese. Today's prompt is "Absurd". Visit Nicky's post to read stories from the other participants.

This is a repost from several years ago, and it seemed fitting for today.  You see I contracted yet another nasty bug, and am somewhat under the weather today, so the mere thought of manipulating words seems positively absurd.

Ever wonder where the expression "under the weather" came from?
With everyone waxing poetic about the beauty of fall, there is also a down side of this lovely season; it heralds the coming of the cold and flu season.  When we fall prey to these nasties, we tend to say that we are "under the weather".  Just this past weekend, I used that phrase myself and began to wonder of its origins.

The phrase "under the weather" dates back to the 1800s.  When sailors would become seasick, they would be sent below deck to get away from the weather, thus literally being "under the weather".  Author Donald Grant Mitchell was the first to use this phrase in his 1850 book Reveries of a Bachelor, and it has since been used for everything from being "ill" or "indisposed" to "financially embarrassed" or "drunk".

Some state that the correct term is "under the weather bow".  The weather bow is the side of the boat being hardest hit by the nasty weather.

Also there is the belief that the weather can affect one's health, so a sick person is deemed to be "under the weather".  From this theory, it stands to reason that the weather can also influence a person's mood, rendering them under the weather as well.  This is documented as SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder, which I touched on last fall in my post Just Another Monday.

We all know the steps to staying healthy during the cold and flu season, but here's a recap so we don't have say, "Sorry, I can't.  I'm under the weather."
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water, or use hand sanitizer when you can't wash.
  • Do not touch your face - nose, eyes, mouth - that is the germ's way into your system.
  • Keep your distance from those are already sick.
  • In turn, if you do get sick, stay home away from others.
  • And of course, cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Other Shoe

It is day 20 of the 30 minus 2 days of writing hosted by Nicky and Mike of We Work For Cheese. Today's prompt is "The Other Shoe".  Visit Nicky's post to see what the other participants cobbled up.

Do you ever wonder about the etymology of some of the expressions we use every day without thinking about it?  How and where did they originate, and what they mean?  Let's find out.

Fred lived on the ground floor of an old 1950s walk-up.  Jack, his upstairs neighbor, was a youngish fellow who worked evenings in a textiles factory, and it was late when he stumbled in.  After his shift he would stop at the Raging Bull Saloon for a drink - just to help him sleep, you know.

Image Source:
As Jack got ready to turn in he sat on the edge of the bed to take off his shoes.  His work shoes were heavy, and as he kicked off the first one, it fell to the the floor with a resounding THUD.

This awakened his slumbering neighbor downstairs.  Even in his groggy state Fred cursed the rude interruption. He lay in the silence - knowing that there was another - waiting for the second thud.  

However in the apartment above, despite the several pints he'd consumed, Jack realized he could be disturbing his downstairs neighbor, and so he eased off the second shoe, and it slipped quietly to the floor.

Fred, still waiting to return to sleep, finally yelled, "For crying out loud, will you drop the other shoe already".

And that is where we get the expression "waiting for the other shoe to drop".

Friday, May 11, 2012

Truth or Fiction? Take It With a Grain of Salt

Do you wonder where some of the expressions we use everyday come from?  I do.  So when I used the expression "take it with a grain of salt" in a post, I knew I had to explore it further.  In my ongoing quest to find the answers to life's everyday questions, I turned to Google.  Doesn't everyone?  As with most expressions, there are variations on the origin.

First we find that having "salt in your pumpkin" is a good thing.  Now when I think of pumpkins, I naturally think of pie, don't you.  Anyway, in Italy pumpkin is another way of saying head, and "a grain of salt" often refers to intelligence.  All of which is a roundabout way of saying that if you have salt in your pumpkin you are someone with intelligence and good reasoning skills.

Wieliczka Salt Mine by Anna Strummillo
In it's Latin form, "cum grano salis" is often used when the situation at hand requires care and good personal judgment.

The Modern English version of "take it with a grain of salt", is really saying "don't take this seriously".  In other words, don't believe everything you hear.  When I was a kid, Mom would sometimes say that when I would tell her something I'd heard from some of the neighbors who were apt to embellish a bit on the facts.

Going all the way back to 77 A.D. it was written that a grain of salt was an ingredient in an antidote for poisoning, indicating that the effects of the poison may be moderated by taking a grain of salt.  Along these same lines, salt was once believed to have healing properties, and thus eating or drinking anything with a grain of salt was a form of preventative medicine.  Now we are told to limit our salt intake for health reasons, but it is also said that history repeats itself. 

What are some of your favorite expressions?