Origins Of Phrases (Notes; Queries; Oddities)

Cochise

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On a similar tack - does anyone know the origin of the phrase 'My dogs are barking' as a term for sore feet after a long walk / run? Unknown to us mud-dwellers from Essex, but my mate from Northamptonshire used to use it fairly regularly.
 

escargot

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On a similar tack - does anyone know the origin of the phrase 'My dogs are barking' as a term for sore feet after a long walk / run? Unknown to us mud-dwellers from Essex, but my mate from Northamptonshire used to use it fairly regularly.
Tony Hancock said it to great hilarity. That's all I know.
Edit - Cockney slang, dog's meat/feet.
 

escargot

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I thought is was "plates of meat" = feet
Some words and phrases have more than one rhyme. Newer ones sometimes supersede others and both might be used. There are no firm rules.
 

PeniG

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"Dogs" was common slang for feet in the middle of the last century, presumably because you're always walking with them.
 

Nemo

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Some words and phrases have more than one rhyme. Newer ones sometimes supersede others and both might be used. There are no firm rules.

I stand, corrected on my dogs then. ;)
 
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GNC

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"Dogs" was common slang for feet in the middle of the last century, presumably because you're always walking with them.

Hence the phrase, "My dogs are barking!", meaning "My feet are sore!"?
 

catseye

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I wonder if the derivation of 'drawing' re feet has any connection with getting a fire to 'draw', or pull upwards and burn hotter?
 

mikfez

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Another phrase that always puzzled me - Bran new.
Apparently it's because in the 18c items were packed in bran.
I also thought that it morphed into brand new but not so; Brand new came earlier and was something to do with burning a piece of wood.
Now how about box standard morphing into bog standard?
 

Zeke Newbold

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Okay, have at these::

`The luck of the Irish` (Since when were the Irish lucky?)
`Scotch mist` (Meaning something untrue or unsubstantial).
`The apple of my eye`
`Can talk the hind legs of a donkey`
 

EnolaGaia

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Another phrase that always puzzled me - Bran new.
Apparently it's because in the 18c items were packed in bran.
I also thought that it morphed into brand new but not so; Brand new came earlier and was something to do with burning a piece of wood.

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary 'bran new' is simply a popular corruption of 'brand new', which in turn originated with something being fresh from a fire.
brand-new (adj.)
"quite new," 1560s, from brand (n.) + new. The notion is "new as a glowing metal fresh from the forge" (Shakespeare has fire-new; Middle English had span-neue "brand new," c. 1300, from Old Norse span-nyr, from span "chip of wood," perhaps as something likely to be new-made). Popularly bran-new.

https://www.etymonline.com/word/brand-new
 

EnolaGaia

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Okay, have at these::
`The luck of the Irish` (Since when were the Irish lucky?)

As far as is known this phrase originated in the USA in the early to mid 19th century and in relation to mining. It supposedly arose because a significant number of successful prospectors during the 'gold rushes' of the period were Irish immigrants. Some sources claim the phrase originally connoted condescension in attributing success to luck rather than skill or expertise.
 

hunck

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As happy as Larry

originates from an Australian boxer called Larry Foley in the 1890s, before boxing was fully legalised. He won the biggest prize of about $150,000 dollars and a newspaper article in New Zealand had the headline “Happy As Larry” and the phrase stuck.
 

EnolaGaia

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EnolaGaia

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... `Scotch mist` (Meaning something untrue or unsubstantial). ...

I haven't been able to find any allusion to falsehood (lying; untruthfulness; etc.) in association with 'Scotch mist'. I can find allusions to things that induce or maintain confusion or impairs / prevents perception.

Most the figurative allusions I can find focus on the 'unsubstantial' option.

Scotch mist ...
  1. (Britain) A cold and penetrating mist, verging on rain.
  2. (Britain, dialect, chiefly Lancashire and Yorkshire, idiomatic) Something that is hard to find or does not exist. ...
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Scotch_mist

Here are some discussion excerpts that tend to focus on the confusion option.
Meaning:
The phrase 'Scotch mist' is used humorously to refer to something that is hard to find or doesn't exist - something imagined.

Scotch mist is, specifically, nothing at all or something invisible. (Many years ago, enterprising Scottish tourist shops used to sell cans of Scotch mist ~ they were just empty cans.)

If you are looking for something on a table (e.g. a library card or a bunch of keys) and claim that you can't find it, even though it is staring you in the face, someone could point at it and say "What do you think that is? Scotch mist?"
I would expect most people in the UK of my age to be familiar with this expression.

From the OED: ...

2. figurative and allusive. Something that clouds a person's perception or understanding; (also) something or someone considered as insubstantial or unreal.

In later use frequently used sarcastically in rhetorical questions, as ‘What do you think that is, Scotch mist?’, etc., implying that the person addressed has failed to perceive something obvious.

1647 J. Cleveland Char. London Diurnall 7 This is he, that hath put out one of the Kingdoms eyes, by clouding our Mother-University, and (if the Scotch-mist further prevaile) will extinguish this other.

1660 J. Collop Itur Satyricum 9 No pulpits shall vie tricks with Hocus Pocus Truths rais shall clear them, that no Scotch myst choak us.

1683 R. L'Estrange Considerations upon Printed Sheet 27 This Paper is only a Scotch Mist from one End to the Other. There's..not One Syllable in Proof.
SOURCE: https://forum.wordreference.com/threads/scotch-mist.3837863/
 

eburacum

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A fairly common use of this phrase is if someone is looking for something and can't find it, but it is in fact easily visible.
"I can't find the way into this building."
(Standing by the front door)" What do you think this is - Scotch Mist?"
 

Sid

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A fairly common use of this phrase is if someone is looking for something and can't find it, but it is in fact easily visible.
"I can't find the way into this building."
(Standing by the front door)" What do you think this is - Scotch Mist?"
A Jar!
 

GNC

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A recent UK survey identified a bunch of formerly well-known phrases that are falling out of use:
News story (with video)

Top of the tree is "casting pearls before swine", which seems oddly appropriate. To be honest, it seems about half the people asked knew what the phrases meant anyway, which is not too bad. Bit sad to see "Be there or be square!" slipping from favour, though. "Cold as a witch's tit" seems to be a strange one to inquire about.
 

Sid

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A recent UK survey identified a bunch of formerly well-known phrases that are falling out of use:
News story (with video)

Top of the tree is "casting pearls before swine", which seems oddly appropriate. To be honest, it seems about half the people asked knew what the phrases meant anyway, which is not too bad. Bit sad to see "Be there or be square!" slipping from favour, though. "Cold as a witch's tit" seems to be a strange one to inquire about.
My interpretation of the phrase "casting pearls before swine," would be to show something to someone whom could least afford it. Or, another would be to try and achieve, or to obtain something which is said to be (in the old world) well above your station?
 

EnolaGaia

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My interpretation of the phrase "casting pearls before swine," would be to show something to someone whom could least afford it. Or, another would be to try and achieve, or to obtain something which is said to be (in the old world) well above your station?

It comes from the Sermon on the Mount. It doesn't mean the person to whom something is offered can't / doesn't afford or deserve it. It means the person to whom something is offered can't or won't understand it or appreciate it for the value you attribute to it.
If you say that someone is casting pearls before swine, you mean that they are wasting their time by offering something that is helpful or valuable to someone who does not appreciate or understand it.
https://www.collinsdictionary.com/us/dictionary/english/to-cast-pearls-before-swine

To cast pearls before swine means to offer something very valuable to someone who is unable to appreciate that value. Most often, the phrase is rendered as the admonition don’t cast your pearls before swine, meaning don’t offer what you hold dear to someone who won’t appreciate it.
https://grammarist.com/phrase/cast-pearls-before-swine/

cast pearls before swine
Give something of value of someone who won't appreciate it ...
https://www.dictionary.com/browse/cast--pearls--before--swine

cast pearls before swine
to offer something valuable or good to someone who does not know its value ...
https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/cast-pearls-before-swine
 

Sid

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It comes from the Sermon on the Mount. It doesn't mean the person to whom something is offered can't / doesn't afford or deserve it. It means the person to whom something is offered can't or won't understand it or appreciate it for the value you attribute to it.
"Ah!"
 

GNC

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Like if you sat a Steven Seagal fan down to watch Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal. No matter how high quality Bergman is, the Seagal fan is going to dismiss it as boring.
 

Mythopoeika

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Like if you sat a Steven Seagal fan down to watch Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal. No matter how high quality Bergman is, the Seagal fan is going to dismiss it as boring.
Stereotyping. I'm the sort of person who'd watch both types of films.
 

GNC

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Stereotyping. I'm the sort of person who'd watch both types of films.

So am I, but we're the exception. "After we watch Hard to Kill, I'll crack open this Chantal Akerman box set, what do you say?!"
 

Mythopoeika

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So am I, but we're the exception. "After we watch Hard to Kill, I'll crack open this Chantal Akerman box set, what do you say?!"
Feel free to watch something in French.
 
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