Interesting Tidbits for the History Buff (Origin of Sayings)

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posted on Mar, 30 2012 @ 11:59 AM
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Another interesting email to share before I delete
.
I appreciated this info -hope you do too!

I find it very interesting -the origin of sayings et al...and how they are handed down to the generations .

I did not know these things. Did you? I found some of these amusing...so on with the post.
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There is a bit of history buff in all of us.

Here are some interesting tidbits that just maybe you didn't know.

In George Washington's days, there were no cameras. One's image was either sculpted or painted. Some paintings of George Washington showed him standing behind a desk with one arm behind his back while others showed both legs and both arms. Prices charged by painters were not based on how many people were to be painted, but by how many limbs were to be painted. Arms and legs are 'limbs,' therefore painting them would cost the buyer more.. Hence the expression, 'Okay,but it'll cost you an arm and a leg.' (Artists know hands and arms are more difficult to paint)

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As incredible as it sounds, men and women took baths only twice a year (May and October) Women kept their hair covered, while men shaved their heads (because of lice and bugs) and wore wigs. Wealthy men could afford good wigs made from wool. They couldn't wash the wigs, so to clean them they would carve out a loaf of bread, put the wig in the shell, and bake it for 30 minutes. The heat would make the wig big and fluffy, hence the term 'big wig.' Today we often use the term 'here comes the Big Wig' because someone appears to be or is powerful and wealthy.

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In the late 1700's,many houses consisted of a large room with only one chair. Commonly, a long wide board folded down from the wall, and was used for dining. The 'head of the household' always sat in the chair while everyone else ate sitting on the floor. Occasionally a guest, who was usually a man, would be invited to sit in this chair during a meal. To sit in the chair meant you were important and in charge. They called the one sitting in the chair the 'chair man.' Today in business, we use the expression or title 'Chairman' or 'Chairman of the Board.'

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Personal hygiene left much room for improvement. As a result, many women and men had developed acne scars by adulthood. The women would spread bee's wax over their facial skin to smooth out their complexions. When they were speaking to each other, if a woman began to stare at another woman's face she was told, 'mind your own bee's wax.' Should the woman smile, the wax would crack, hence the term 'crack a smile'. In addition, when they sat too close to the fire, the wax would melt . . .. Therefore, the expression 'losing face.

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Ladies wore corsets, which would lace up in the front. A proper and dignified woman, as in 'straight laced'. . Wore a tightly tied lace.

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Common entertainment included playing cards. However, there was a tax levied when purchasing playing cards but only applicable to the 'Ace of Spades.' To avoid paying the tax, people would purchase 51 cards instead. Yet, since most games require 52 cards, these people were thought to be stupid or dumb because they weren't 'playing with a full deck.'

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Early politicians required feedback from the public to determine what the people considered important. Since there were no telephones, TV's or radios, the politicians sent their assistants to local taverns, pubs, and bars. They were told to 'go sip some ale' and listen to people's conversations and political concerns. Many assistants were dispatched at different times. 'You go sip here' and 'You go sip there.' The two words 'go sip' were eventually combined when referring to the local opinion and, thus we have the term 'gossip.'

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At local taverns, pubs, and bars, people drank from pint and quart-sized containers. A bar maid's job was to keep an eye on the customers and keep the drinks coming. She had to pay close attention and remember who was drinking in 'pints' and who was drinking in 'quarts,' hence the term 'minding your'P's and Q's '

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One more and betting you didn't know this!

In the heyday of sailing ships, all war ships and many freighters carried iron cannons. Those cannons fired round iron cannon balls. It was necessary to keep a good supply near the cannon. However, how to prevent them from rolling about the deck? The best storage method devised was a square-based pyramid with one ball on top, resting on four resting on nine, which rested on sixteen.. Thus, a supply of 30 cannon balls could be stacked in a small area right next to the cannon. There was only one problem...how to prevent the bottom layer from sliding or rolling from under the others. The solution was a metal plate called a 'Monkey' with 16 round indentations.
However, if this plate were made of iron, the iron balls would quickly rust to it. The solution to the rusting problem was to make 'Brass Monkeys.' Few landlubbers realize that brass contracts much more and much faster than iron when chilled.
Consequently, when the temperature dropped too far, the brass indentations would shrink so much that the iron cannonballs would come right off the monkey.. Thus, it was quite literally, 'Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.' (All this time, you thought that was an improper expression, didn't you.)

Sorry no source of info. These make sense to me - sound legit -but if there are any inaccuracies, please by all means, set the OP straight .

Thought this was interesting info and wanted to pass it on-
Comments appreciated!
edit on 30-3-2012 by SeekerLou because: (no reason given)




posted on Mar, 30 2012 @ 12:30 PM
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Very cool, thanks for posting this, it was entertaining.

I read once somewhere that the popular slang for, um, human waste was derived from old colonial shipping where they would have to ship fertilizer from point a to point b and would have to stack the waste in a certain area below deck. They referred to this as "Shipping High In Transit"....or S.H.I.T. If that is true or not, I have no idea, but found it logical anyhow lol



posted on Mar, 30 2012 @ 12:38 PM
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Wow, thanks for sharing op. It is very hard to believe that folks only took a bath twice a year. We take for granted that we have the means to take a bath/shower as many times as we want to...Very interesting tid bits indeed...



posted on Mar, 30 2012 @ 12:40 PM
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Originally posted by BigBlackDog
Very cool, thanks for posting this, it was entertaining.

I read once somewhere that the popular slang for, um, human waste was derived from old colonial shipping where they would have to ship fertilizer from point a to point b and would have to stack the waste in a certain area below deck. They referred to this as "Shipping High In Transit"....or S.H.I.T. If that is true or not, I have no idea, but found it logical anyhow lol


I have heard of that before, also, the inventer of the toilet was none other than John Crapper...that's why to this day we still hear, "I have to go use the John". or, " I have to take a Crap".....



posted on Mar, 30 2012 @ 12:42 PM
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shower twice a year....kewl



posted on Mar, 30 2012 @ 12:42 PM
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reply to post by BigBlackDog
 


Hi and thanks for your reply - very interesting about the poop deck
Am sure you hit the nail on the head with that one too.
It seems I may had heard this before too.
Very interesting!
Use to have a different email that was chocked full of these things. Wish I still had it.

If anyone knows of any more of these please contribute.

Appreciate your replies everyone.
Can you guys imagine not being able to wash your hair ...and wearing those ole' wigs? We have come a long way thankfully! We can bathe everyday phew!

I can not imagine having to live that way .
edit on 30-3-2012 by SeekerLou because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 30 2012 @ 12:51 PM
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I've always been interested in where sayings come from.

A couple i remember off the top of my head:

When baking bread in a fireplace, the bottom would often become charred and undesirable. Well to do people could afford to cut off the charred part and discard it, eating the top part. This is where we get the term "upper crust"

At one time, doors were in two parts. When someone came to the door, the bottom section was opened and the person had to stoop over to enter and ran the risk of having their head lopped off. Thus "sticking their neck out".

Don't know if either of these are true, but interesting, anyway.



posted on Mar, 30 2012 @ 12:52 PM
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reply to post by sith9157
 


The toilet wasn't invented by thomas crapper and the term "to crap" has been found in a book which was printed 13 years before he was born however he did invent the whole flushing mechanism where the water was gravity fed from the system above the toilet via the handle being pulled people have wondered if he went into the toilet profession because his name was crapper and the term to crap was already in use ....who knows



posted on Mar, 30 2012 @ 12:55 PM
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Also " Not enough room to swing a cat" an old navel saying meaning there is not enough room to swing a cat of nine tails



posted on Mar, 30 2012 @ 12:56 PM
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The phrase a square meal comes from the time of Nelson and they made the plates square so they could be recessed into the tables on the ship easy so as not to move around should the ship experience some turbulance

(by Nelson i mean the British admiral not the kid of the simpsons - before someone gets confused
)



posted on Mar, 30 2012 @ 12:56 PM
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thanks for sharing, i like reading these things! now i will be up all night looking more up



posted on Mar, 30 2012 @ 12:57 PM
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reply to post by Mahatmacoat
 


Good catch...I always thought his first name was John but..

Sir John Harington beat Crapper to the punch nearly 300 years earlier with his revolutionary water closet design

So that has to be the John reference

Interesting



posted on Mar, 30 2012 @ 01:02 PM
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Originally posted by DIRTYDONKEY
thanks for sharing, i like reading these things! now i will be up all night looking more up


You're very welcome.


We must be related . jk....You sound like me. (what I call) my OCD kicks into overdrive too and I have to sometimes force myself to stop the digging and quit.

Learning is fun! ( Never liked school except for the basics. But today at 50+ I love learning different and new things on my own.
edit on 30-3-2012 by SeekerLou because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 30 2012 @ 01:03 PM
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reply to post by SeekerLou
 


thanks, seekerlou.....I am a history teacher....and I learned a few things this morning! Have a great day



posted on Mar, 30 2012 @ 01:08 PM
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reply to post by doryinaz
 


Did I stick my foot in my mouth or what? LOL
Wonderful! Seriously, No offense to teachers or anything such... I was merely commenting/ saying that I NOW appreciate learning... but only on the topics that interest me.

Thanks teach... glad you learned something..that's the least I could do... I owe many a teacher thanks.



posted on Mar, 30 2012 @ 01:09 PM
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reply to post by sith9157
 


No worries Im always happy to help.
The whole origin of sayings is something that I have looked up time and time again over the years as its always something that makes me think "I wonder where that came from" but you know since you posted this I really cant remember any of them


Hold on I got another when meccano was brought out I'm pretty sure it was 1910/1920 or around that time (I wounld have to go look it up to be exact) they brought out two versions one for the rich kids and one for the poor kids the one for the rich kids having more parts,nuts and bolts and the like the poor kids one was labeled BOX STANDARD thats were we get the term bog standard from however the rich kids got the BOX DULUX and thats where the term dogs bollocks come from meaning the best you can get



posted on Mar, 30 2012 @ 01:19 PM
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Definitely not the proudest moment in entymology, but...

In the US during the late 1700's through the 1800's, it was determined a man could not beat his wife with an implement that was thicker than his thumb. It was known as the rule of thumb.

I love this stuff - thanks for posting!



posted on Mar, 30 2012 @ 01:47 PM
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reply to post by chasingbrahman
 


Thanks for the input! Very interesting...especially in that they had rules on beating the wife lol..

Love this stuff too. Thanks for posting!

Rule of Thumb, eh?... hmmm.. well, I say!
edit on 30-3-2012 by SeekerLou because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 30 2012 @ 01:55 PM
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reply to post by N3k9Ni
 


Very interesting! Thanks for your post.

At first I thought you were going to say this was an origin to a ''pop tart''.. lmbo ....But got it - upper crust !


Had not heard about the doors "sticking your neck out".
Hey if the halved doors were swinging doors... I'd venture a guess to this saying to "not let the door hit you in the behind" as you are leaving . Ya think? lol

Cool beans! -thanks for the input.
edit on 30-3-2012 by SeekerLou because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 30 2012 @ 02:37 PM
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reply to post by SeekerLou
 


I always thought the "mind your P's and Q's" came from the time of old printing presses when the type setter had to select each letter by hand. Lower case P's (p) and Q's (q) look a lot alike so you had to pay special attention to them to make sure you used the correct letter





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