Aug 1, 2019

Random Thursday

This chapter on expressions has been a lot of fun! We still have a few week's worth of knowledge to be had from The Little Book of Answers by Doug Lennox! Let's see what we can learn today!

(image borrowed from Virtua)
Giving someone the "cold shoulder" is a way of snubbing someone. This expression came about in Europe during the Middle Ages and served two purposes. One was if a guest overstayed his welcome, he was served cooked, but cold beef shoulder at every meal. The idea was that the guest would eventually tire of the same meal and leave. The other version of the "cold shoulder" was the leftover mutton that was given out to the poor to discourage them from begging at the pantry.

Wow. Those were both rough! And sadly, I couldn't find a good picture for cold shoulder, as googling that term literally brings up the same name styled top!

(image borrowed from Pros Write)
When we want someone to stand up and do something, we tell them to "get off their keister." "Keister" is dervied from the German Yiddish, "kiste" that is a strongbox or suitcase. When early Jewish immigrants arrived with all their belongings in a "kiste" they would sit on it while waiting to be processed through customs. The English-speaking agents didn't realize they were sitting on suitcases and thought they were sitting on their butts, so when they said "get off your keister," it was thought to meant get off your butt!

Interesting word history there.

(image borrowed from Wikipedia)
When someone else takes credit for another's work, we say they "stole his thunder." This came about in the early 1700s when English playwright, John Dennis created a metallic device that mimicked the sound of thunder. The production it was created for failed and the device was forgotten about. Then a few months later, John was attending another play at the same theater when he heard the sound of his invention. He made such a fuss about it in public that soon all of London picked up the phrase, "they've stolen my thunder!"

Because they literally stole his thunder! Lol. But still feel bad for poor John!

(image borrowed from The Chronicle of Higher Education)
When something is stopped cold, we say someone "put the kibosh" on it. To "put the kibosh" on something is an Irish expression that means to put an end to it. "Kibosh" is Gaelic and means "cap of death." This was actually the black hat a judge wears before sentencing a prisoner to death. In modern usage it means as it did to the condemned, "your path of destruction has ended."

You see interesting things when googling "kibosh." Apparently it was a villainous ghost in a Casper movie. Lol.

(image borrowed from New York Post)
When we are determined to accomplish something by any means, we use the saying, "by hook or by crook," which means by fair means or foul means. A "crook" is someone who steals things, and to "hook" something means to steal it. This expression dates back to the 13th century when hooks were used by shepherding or peasants to bend branches when stealing firewood or fruit from the royal forest. Since the deceit was called "crooked" after the shapes of their hooks, these thieves soon earned the name "crooks."

Very interesting term of history! Though I guess my picture should've been Bo Peep with her crook...but come on...Captain Hook is way better to look at! Lol!


  1. I think I've heard mot of those before. Funny how we put things into weird sentences to mean other things.

  2. Okay so I love the word history. GIVE ME ALL THE FACTS. (Seriously though. This was fun. Love it.)


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