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The "Vocabulary and Idioms" Game

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posted on Aug, 25 2020 @ 10:30 PM
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a reply to: new_here

I'm sure they had a whale of a time jumping that shark.

Seems that whale means really big. 1832

First use in print for "whale of a time" 1895

Nowadays we say Big Time.
or even "a roaring good time."




posted on Aug, 25 2020 @ 10:45 PM
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a reply to: VeeTNA

I could look these up for hours. So interesting! Have fun people...
Idioms Online



posted on Aug, 25 2020 @ 11:22 PM
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a reply to: VeeTNA

How about this beauty? The slough monster will slough its skin. The first slough is pronounced like stew. The second slough rhymes with rough. Why? There are two different words using the exact same letters but sound nothing alike. How about the fact that Buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo actually makes sense as a sentence?
edit on 26-8-2020 by Skid Mark because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 26 2020 @ 08:48 AM
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A lot depends on grasping the image that lies behind the idiom. Replies have explained "on the ropes" (boxing) and "showing the ropes" (introducing a novice to the ship's working equipment). I would have thought that "up in the air" was a ball-game metaphor, as long as it means "not yet decided". Military people might talk about their flank being "in the air", but that's a different situation.

I've never understood the American expression "on the line", because I can't imagine what kind of "line" is being assumed in the metaphor. "My job is on the line"; Fishing line? (Being used as bait) Boundary line? (could go either way). Tight-rope? (could fall either way). Firing-line? (everybody's shooting at me).

Some idioms are distortions arising out of jokes and misunderstandings, which confuses the issue. I once saw the question "Why do street salesmen say 'Cheap at half the price?' Surely 'twice the price' would be more logical." My answer to that would be that "twice the price" was the original expression, then somebody thought up the joke variant, and the joke variant became the norm.

When someone makes a mistake, people say "he's put his foot in it". When I was young, as far as I remember, the "it" was understood to be an imaginary cow-pat. He had made a metaphorical false step. Then somebody came up with the combined image "every time he opens his mouth, he puts his foot in it". Now, as far as I can tell, this joke version has taken over; "putting his foot in it" is always assumed to mean "putting his foot in his mouth", an image which will become an inexplicable puzzle if nobody remembers the original version.

Again, people used to say "If you think that, you've got another 'think' coming". Now sloppy pronunciation and the way the people are so imitative in their speech appears to have turned "think" into "thing", and it doesn't bother anyone that the remark "You've got another thing coming" has no discernable meaning.

There is a British idiom "grasping the nettle". I discovered on Google once that half the internet does not understand this term, and wants to "correct" it to "grasping the metal". So let me explain. There is an English country weed called a "stinging nettle", because it stings. If you accidentally brush the back of your hand against one, you soon find out (fortunately another plant provides a natural antidote). Now folklore says that the plant will not sting if you grasp the stem firmly, This has a metaphorical use. Some kinds of problem can be so tricky that dealing with them in a tentative way only makes things worse. You need to tackle the problem firmly and decisively; "Grasp the nettle".

On the subject of British idioms; "waiting for the penny to drop".If someone is visibly failing to understand or grasp the significance of what he's just been told, the other person might say "I'm waiting for the penny to drop", or perhaps "the penny's dropped" when he sees a change of expression.

This goes back to the old-fashioned dispensing-machines, of chocolate or cigarettes, as used to be found on railway stations. The internal working of these machines was obviously mechanical. When a customer inserted a coin of the right shape and weight, the fall of the coin would trip a lever; the lever would open an internal door, which would allow one bar of chocolate to drop into a dispensing drawer. The customer would then open the drawer and take the goods. But if the customer was impatient and pulled out the drawer too quickly, the chocolate would be caught half-way through the drop or fall behind the open drawer, the drawer would jam, and neither he nor anybody else for the next six months would be able to get anything out of the machine.

So there would be a prominent notice on the machine- "WAIT FOR THE PENNY TO DROP". I've seen them. To be exact, the price had gone up by the time I was wandering the country on interviews, so the notice now said "WAIT FOR THE COIN TO DROP". But the principle was the same. That mechanical process, with the enforced wait, became a metaphor for those occasions when a person's mind is visibly taking some time to work things out.


edit on 26-8-2020 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 26 2020 @ 10:59 AM
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This a great topic, well done for starting it.

I'm Italian, but I grew up and studied in the USA and UK. I've worked in Italy, the UK and Canada.

My head is so full of idioms that I often get them mixed up; translating Italian ones into English and vice versa. It creates much confusion as people don't have a clue what I'm talking about. There are many idioms that are common in different languages and cultures, others are strictly national or regional.

To avoid any more confusion, I'll go with the well known Latin phrase (of Greek origin).

In Vino Veritas.
In vine there is truth.

Under the influence of alcohol, people will tend to speak uninhibited and be more truthful. There is a less known second part to the phrase.

In Aqua Sanitas.
In water there is health.

Basically, when sober people will be more rational.


edit on 26-8-2020 by Encia22 because: Just tinkering



posted on Aug, 26 2020 @ 11:06 AM
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a reply to: Encia22

Thank you for playing! I am fluent in Spanish - was taught from age 8 and have kept it up, in academic as well as casual and medical and family and work settings. Was my major in college.....

I'm fascinated by language and English is such a real mutt of world languages that it never gets boring.

Today I was browsing for dog "tack" - harnesses, collars, etc - and came across a thing called an

Agitation Harness

on a site for police, rescue, support dogs etc.

Agitation Harness?

Sounds awful. So I just had to look it up.
Anyone know this one?



posted on Aug, 26 2020 @ 11:16 AM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

Great response! Thank you!

Also, I'd never heard "grasping the nettle", but your description took me vividly back to when I have cleared wild brush from the trees on my properties; we have horrible clinging, smothering vines (Kudzu I think but not sure), that have awful thorns on them - I've figured out that if I grasp it very firmly (with sturdy gloves), I can get at the base to cut it.

Loved the other examples too --

so where does "waiting for the other shoe to drop" come from?



Anyone?



posted on Aug, 26 2020 @ 11:19 AM
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a reply to: Skid Mark

How about the fact that Buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo actually makes sense as a sentence?

Hmm....I'm thinking the caps indicates the place name of Buffalo, and at least one creature commonly known as a buffalo, can "buffalo" another buffalo. To Buffalo: be adversarial/confusing .....

am I close?



posted on Aug, 26 2020 @ 11:21 AM
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a reply to: Liquesence


Sounds nasty. Sexual. Pornographic, actually.


Yep, it makes me uncomfortable to talk about plumbing and electrical items with the terms one must use.



posted on Aug, 26 2020 @ 11:46 AM
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a reply to: VeeTNA

Cheers, I was sure you were multilingual.


"Waiting for the other shoe to drop"

I've always taken it to mean "waiting for an obvious/matching event to happen". Shoes come in pairs, so if one "drops", then the other will surely follow. I've never looked into its origins, but it may have to do with shoemakers/cobblers.

Cobblers is another great term people might like to look into.




posted on Aug, 26 2020 @ 12:08 PM
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a reply to: Encia22
I''ve always assumed that the first shoe was dropped on the celiing (on his floor) by the person living in the room above, getting ready for bed.



posted on Aug, 26 2020 @ 01:09 PM
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a reply to: VeeTNA

Buffalo as in the city in New York. Buffalo as in the animal. Buffalo as in "to bully, harass, or intimidate". Buffalo as in the city. Buffalo as in the animal.



posted on Aug, 26 2020 @ 04:51 PM
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a reply to: Skid Mark

Yep! Nailed it. good one



posted on Aug, 26 2020 @ 06:18 PM
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originally posted by: DISRAELI
a reply to: Encia22
I''ve always assumed that the first shoe was dropped on the celiing (on his floor) by the person living in the room above, getting ready for bed.



Make sense. You know one has finally retired or things have settled down so you can get some rest when the second has dropped.

How Well Do You Know English? The Origin of 'Bite the Bullet' and 15 Other Common Expressions in English



posted on Aug, 26 2020 @ 06:22 PM
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a reply to: Encia22



Cobblers is another great term people might like to look into.


This is also why looking at common last names is interesting, including the names of some rural roads: they oftentimes reflect the person's profession in a time when there were few actual formal last names that stuck over time (Bob Johnson=Bob, John's son; Joe Miller was a miller or descended from a miller, Gin House Road was the road where the Gin House was, etc).

I'm reminded of something I saw as a kid where Arnold described his last name Schwarzenegger: black plower: Arnold of the black plowers, somewhere down the line.
edit on 26-8-2020 by Liquesence because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 26 2020 @ 08:11 PM
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a reply to: Liquesence

And a barrel maker was called a cooper.

A couple I had to look up (after hearing them on Perry Mason):

Carrying coals to Newcastle.

Answer a fool according to his own folly.

The second one is from a Bible verse. Actually two verses. One says, "Answer a fool according to his own folly." which I assume to mean imitate the fool to show them how foolish they are being, or something like that. The other says, "Do not answer a fool according to his own folly.", which I take to mean something like don't sink to their level.

I'm still confused on that one, but so is the Bible, so ...



posted on Aug, 27 2020 @ 08:16 PM
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a reply to: Liquesence

A cobbler is a shoe-maker.

Therefore we have "cobble-stones".



posted on Aug, 27 2020 @ 08:18 PM
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How about "balling the jack"..... I just read that phrase today and was like - what? -
now I know what it refers to.

Any others?



posted on Aug, 27 2020 @ 08:54 PM
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As too the term cut and run..

What a wonderfully misunderstood phrase, ok, perhaps not misunderstood just famously misused.

The best thing a settler could do for his family was to cut free his pack animals and make a run for it unhindered when accosted by injuns.

To cut and run is not an act of cowardice.. it is in fact a choice made under duress. it's repercussions literally meant the difference between life and death.

Did you want to maintain possession of grandmother's silverware, or, your wife's scalp..

Many a woman was elated and not forlorn when her husband chose to "cut and run"



---

My favorite phrase/idiom is :

You thought like Nelly,
Who thought cat -Snip- was Jelly.


It's pretty self explanatory..



Respectfully,
~ meathead



posted on Aug, 28 2020 @ 12:55 AM
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a reply to: Mike Stivic
I believe the expression is older than that, from the time of sailing-ships, cutting their anchor-ropes and allowing the wind and current to take them away from an emergency.




edit on 28-8-2020 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)




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