Odd Sayings

The late Pete Younger

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#1
I was wondering about the origins of some odd sayings, such as...
Let the cat out of the bag.
The balloons gone up.
raining cats and dogs.
Flying in the wind.
Carry the can,
and my favourite..For Petes sake, any ideas?
 

rynner2

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#2
Flying in the wind could possibly be nautical.

Three sheets to the wind certainly is. On a square rigged ship (ie, a three master) the sheets were the ropes that controlled the squaresails on the lee side of the vessel. If the helmsman 'sailed too close to the wind' the wind could get on the wrong side of the sails, leading to loss of control - in fact the vessel might even end up sailing backwards! So if a ship had three sheets to the wind it was out of control, and the phrase would naturally be applied by sailors to one of their number who had over-indulged in rum!
 
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Anonymous

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#3
p.younger said:
I was wondering about the origins of some odd sayings, such as...
raining cats and dogs.
, any ideas?
Could raining 'cats and dogs' be attributed to the raining down of frogs and fish and other animals that have been recorded in the past? That's just a flat-out guess on my part.......
 

ufonerd

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#4
I think that the saying the ballons gone up is from the second world war when ballons there used to cause problams for the german planes.
 

_schnor

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#5
I know that raining cats and dogs goes back to the days when the bubonic plague was rampant, cats and dogs were also afflicted, and many died in the streets. After a particularly hard rain, street gutters could be awash in the bodies of dead cats and dogs.

For petes sake was just used as a replacement for a blasphemous or other rude word. I guess it's just stuck.

I think that carrying the can was something to do with when during the war, duff bombs were made safe and the explosives drained into a can, hence if you were carrying the can you were in trouble.

Dunno about the others.
 
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Anonymous

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#6
These are from rather vague memory, so don't take my word for it!

Let the cat out of the bag - Market traders used to display one animal (such as a piglet) on the stall, and sell the others in bags that were already tied. As a scam they would put cats in the bags. Sensible buyers would check before purchase and literally let the cat out of the bag.

Raining cats and dogs - Not sure on this one, originally something to do with Norse mythology, I heard. Odin controlled storms and was also attended by dogs. Possibly.

It does intrigue me how phrases became commonplace before mass communication. I suppose it all happened via trade routes.
 
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Anonymous

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#11
The phrase 'piggy in the middle' originates in a Druid game played during sacrifices, when the head of the sacrificial victim was thrown from hand to hand in a gruesome game similar to Rugby. The 'piggy' part comes from the fact that the victim squealed like a pig as he realised his life was over as the knife was brought down to his/her neck.
 
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Anonymous

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#12
Pig in a poke comes from the same origins as letting the cat out of the bag. 'Poke' comes from the French for bag - 'poche'.

:)
 

JamesWhitehead

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#13
The word Poke is still used to mean a bag in parts of Scotland.

Startling to be asked if you'd like a poke with your purchase -
especially if you are being served by a winsome youth.

Well it might happen! :eek!!!!:
 
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Anonymous

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#14
American slang

As much as it pains me to lower the tone:rolleyes:, why in the US is the name Fanny attributed to the backside/arse/ass/bum/bottom? And why the difference in meanings between the US and UK, which often leads to much amusement?
 
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Anonymous

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#15
I lived in Kansas for a year. In Kansas what we would call a fringe (as in hair), they call 'bangs'.

One day, I got confused, marched into the hairdresser's...and asked for a slap.

:p
 

mikelegs

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#16
This stuff reminds me of a problem we have in PA sometimes. The stuff you put in a chicken or turkey is stuffing, sometimes called filling. The stuff you pour over your salad is dressing. But some ppl seem to think the stuff you put in the bird is dressing, and I don't know what they call salad dressing. Also confusion over soda, pop, soft drink, cola... all the same thing.

Stupid sayings in my locale:

When something is empty, 'It's all'. As in, 'Can you refill my beverage? It's all.'

The word 'ignorant' (pronounced ig nurnt where I'm from) has new meanings. 'He's ignorant' could me he's dumb, he's uninformed, he's slow, or even just I don't like him.

When you want someone to hurry (especially driving) you say 'sh*t or get off the pot.' WITF?

When you are upset, you might say 'sh*t on a shingle!' again, WITF?

We still use the old classic 'Just hold yer horses.'

Yes, I'm from Redneck, PA. Don't ever go there.


Oh, and my personal favorite insult, 'you're so dumb you could throw a rock at the ground and miss.'
 

intaglio

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#17
I always am confused why jam is jelly and why frozen custard in the US. Custard should be hot and jelly is something else.

On the subject of sayings my favorite is what nurses say about something rapid - Like sh*t off a blanket
 

rynner2

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#18
Surely it would tend to stick to a blanket...?

Theversion I know is "Sh*t off a shiny shovel" which also has the advantage of excellent alliteration!
 
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Anonymous

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#20
"Sh*t on a shingle" is a US colloquial name for hot minced beef on toast, given the toast's resemblence to a shingle, or roof tile.

Using it in this way would just be elaborating on "Oh Sh*t !" in bizarre fashion. I can't see how "...on a shingle" makes it any more acceptable !
 

rynner2

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#21
Which brings us into the wonderful sorld of naval slang!

Chicken on a raft - poached egg on toast

That's just a starter, there are whole books on this subject!
 

carole

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#22
rynner said:
Surely it would tend to stick to a blanket...?

Theversion I know is "Sh*t off a shiny shovel" which also has the advantage of excellent alliteration!
The version I know, rynner is Sh*t off a stick."

Carole
 

carole

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#23
Re: American slang

Captain Buttock said:
As much as it pains me to lower the tone:rolleyes:, why in the US is the name Fanny attributed to the backside/arse/ass/bum/bottom? And why the difference in meanings between the US and UK, which often leads to much amusement?
I once asked an American colleague at work if he had a rubber. The look of panic on his face was changed to one of relief when I explained I meant an eraser.

Carole

And why do they call crisps potato chips, and when they give you a biscuit it's more like a plain scone??
 
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Anonymous

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#24
Interesting how 'oop north' the words 'sod' and 'bugger' are thrown around with gay abandon. The phrase 'sod you' seems to be fairly light until you consider the fact that it means 'I hope you get f***** up the arse."

Why is a sweater/pullover called a jumper?
 
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Anonymous

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#26
My favourite saying for when you've been busy is to say you've been"flat out like a lizard drinking"
And when your thirsty your as"dry as a dead dingoes donger"
 

carole

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#27
I like many of the Aussie sayings - technicolour yawn and so on.

Carole
 

rynner2

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#28
Hands up all those who remember Barry Humphries in P.I....!
(Wasn't that rote by Clive Whatsisface, the Guru of Oz?)

Pointing Percy at the Porcelain, etc.
 

marion

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#29
In the USA bum bags are called fanny packs , yuk . Mind you bum bag is pretty gross too !

I lived up North once , in Cumbria , bread rolls were barm cakes and all the cheddar was orange . Sherbert was called kale-eye .
It was a foreign world !
Marion
 
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Anonymous

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#30
I'''d like to know what the term codswallop means, what is a cods wallop and has anyone heard of it or is just a local thing from where i come from?
:confused: :confused:
 
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