Sep 5, 2019

Random Thursday

This is the final page's worth of factoids on Expressions from The Little Book of Answers by Doug Lennox! Our next and final chapter will be on Trivia! That one should prove to be interesting and conversation worthy! 

(image borrowed from Wikipedia)
The insult "couldn't hold a candle" is from the 16th century, when experienced workers had to have an apprentice hold a candle for them as they worked when light was needed. By holding the candle for the worker, an apprentice could learn as he lights the way. Sadly, if he couldn't do that properly that it was said, "he couldn't even hold a candle" to a tradesman.

Wow. Such a simple meaning for an obvious expression! Lol.

(image borrowed from Party City)
When someone is looking for trouble, we say he has a "chip on his shoulder." This expression dates back to early England when one man would challenged another to a duel by slapping his face with a glove. If the one challenged didn't accept it, he would be branded as a coward. Having a chip on your shoulder was the early Wild West version of the glove slap, though it was less mortal in nature. Boys and men would place a wood chip on their shoulder and challenged anyone who knocked it off to a fist fight. If a man was in aggressive mood, he would put a "chip on his shoulder" and be looking for a fight.

That's rather interesting! And this costume from Party City got a laugh out of me when I was searching for a picture! Lol.

(image borrowed from Wikipedia)
Something that has been proven with quality is said to have passed the "acid test." This tends to mean that someone has proven their value through experience. When gold was in wide circulation, jewelers needed a method of testing the gold objects that were brought to them for cash. Nitric acid dissolves base metals, but not gold, so this was applied to the metal in question to see if it was genuine. If it passed the acid test, then the questionable object was indeed gold.

Did not know that was how gold was tested! 

(image borrowed from English Phrase Collection)
When a nervous person waits on news, we say he does so with "bated breath." The body has natural reactions to emotional stress and one of these is how we breathe during times of nervousness. One's breathing becomes short and controlled when in crisis. "Bated" is a variation of the word "abated" and they both mean restricted. Therefore when in a state of fear, someone's breathnig becomes restricted and thus he waits with "bated breath."

That's an interesting history lesson!

(image borrowed from Wikipedia)
The expression "If you believe that, I've got a bridge I'd like to sell you: dates back to when the Brooklyn Bridge was built in 1883. A conman named George Parker would approach the gullible and proclaim to be its owner and would explain the fortune to be made through toll booths, he offered to sell "his" bridge to them for $50,000. Parker eventually went to jail for life, but it's said that he offered to sell people the Statue of Liberty, Grant's Tomb, and Madison Square Garden.

Yes, I chose the wrong bridge with my picture selecting. I really just read the proposed "question" and go from there to get a picture! 

(image borrowed from Wiktionary)
A victim of his own scheming is said to be "hoisted on his own petard," this expression is found in Shakespeare's Hamlet. The expression has come to mean that someone has been or will be hurt by the device he created to inure others. "Hoist" means to raise something up in the air and "petard" is an antiquated word for "bomb," therefore if you were to "hoist on your own petard" then basically, you will be blown up by your own bomb.

Stupidity at its finest! Lol.

1 comment:

  1. Haha! I love that about "couldn't hold a candle." Interesting about the bated breath too!


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