Strange English sayings

137 posts in this topic

 

A nudge is as good as a wink to a blind bat.

 

"A nudge is as good as a wink to a blind horse", where I come from!

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Comes from drawing the curtains so that people couldn't look in.

 

I thought it came from "withdrawing", i.e. the room where women would withdraw to after dinner while the men sat and smoked.

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"A bit black over Bill's mothers" - A midlands saying for a storm brewing - never found out who Bill & his mother were

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A nudge is as good as a wink to a blind bat.

 

If I remeber rightly back to biology (35 years ago) bats have "radar" as they don't see well -> therefore a nudge would be as good as wink -> don't see it myself but I presume!

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Drawing-room.

 

From the Goon Show:

 

"Are the curtains drawn?"

 

"Yes, but the furniture's real."

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Hundreds of years ago the sailors might have had a few barrels of limes for the scurvy, but I doubt they had bottles of Rose's lime cordial,hold on a bit wiki says yes.

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Hate to be a killjoy or a "Besserwisser", but that's just an urban myth that men would love us to believe, the word "golf" is derived from the old Dutch word "kolf" or "kolve" meaning"club."

 

It was a joke actually. :rolleyes:

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Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey...

 

No idea if it's true, but apparently a brass monkey was a device for holding cannon balls on ships. When it was very cold the brass would contract faster than the iron balls so they'd fall off.

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I like this game. How about... The cat is out of the bag.

 

This one is interesting...

 

 

 

 

There are two commonly heard suggested origins of this phrase. One relates to the fraud of substituting a cat for a piglet at markets. If you let the cat out of the bag you disclosed the trick - and avoided buying a pig in a poke (bag). This form of trickery is long alluded to in the language and 'pigs in a poke' are recorded as early as 1530.

 

cat-of-nine-tails.gifThe other theory is that the 'cat' referred to is the cat o' nine tails, which was used to flog ill-disciplined sailors. Again, this has sufficient historical record to be at least possible. The cat o' nine tails was widely used and was referred to in print many years prior to the first use of 'let the cat out of the bag'. The 'nine tails' part of the name derives from the three strands of cord that the rope lashes were made from. Each of the cords were in turn made from three strands of string. When unbraided a piece of rope separated into nine strings. The 'cat' part no doubt alluded to the scratches that the knotted ends of the lash made on the victim's back, like those from a cat's claws.

 

 

 

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I always thought that Kicked the bucket' came from the fact that when somebody wanted to hang themselves, they stood on a bucket and kicked it away. Not sure if this is correct but that's what I heard years ago.

 

Apparently not - which makes sense: Kicking the bucket means dying, not committing suicide!However, many people seem to have been told that this is the origin.

 

I'm told it comes from pigs sometimes kicking the bucket over when they are being slaughtered (which conjurs up a vision of a pig INSIDE a bucket - must be a pretty big bucket?!

 

Ah - just found a reference:

 

"The wooden frame that was used to hang animals up by their feet for slaughter was called a bucket. Not unnaturally they were likely to struggle or to spasm after death and hence 'kick the bucket'."

 

So, nothing like the kind of bucket I was thinking of.

 

EDIT: Doh! Just saw John G solved that puzzle ages ago - well, at least I now know what a 'bucket' is!

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Shouldn't it be freeze the balls of a brass monkey?

Put it next to another expression; "I am freezing my balls off". So I reckon off not of.

Which sounds like a Russian tennis player.

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You're thinking of Hoodyernickanackerov, who I believe was Bulgarian

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No idea if it's true, but apparently a brass monkey was a device for holding cannon balls on ships. When it was very cold the brass would contract faster than the iron balls so they'd fall off.

 

As far as I know that's correct :D

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Shouldn't it be freeze the balls of a brass monkey?

 

It's definitely off - 23Dan's explanation is correct...

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What has always annoyed me is that saying;

 

'The exception proves the rule' - mainly because pretty much everybody who uses it leaves off 'false/wrong'.

 

An exception proves the rule to be incorrect but if you leave the last word off, people start using it as an excuse to not bother looking into why something didn't work.

 

I have had this quoted to me at work and even seen it in official released documentation.

 

The word 'codology' to mean conning/fooling someone also f*cks me right off. Sound more like something to do with fishing..

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I've always heard/used, the exception ISN'T the rule

 

In that the odd occurrence of something taking place is definitely not the norm.

 

Difference of american english and british english i guess.

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'The exception proves the rule'

 

I've always thought that meant "proves" as in "tests", makes more sense that way.

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