Angela from Mommy Time Out and I would like to welcome you to WAYBACK WEDNESDAYS. We hope you’ll decide to join us. To participate in this blog hop you don’t have to follow a bunch of rules. It’s simple! Just link up your blog, twitter, or Facebook below (only one please).
Thanks for stopping by today. I hope to see you next week. What memories are taking you wayback this Wednesday?
School is in session! Yep, you heard me right. Don’t fret, though. This is a bit of fun education. Have you ever wondered how common saying came to be?
The above cartoon caption,‘Barking up the wrong tree’, is one such example of today’s fun education. If you have ever gone hunting with a dog, then you may know this phrase particularly well. Dogs will chase animals up trees and start barking to let you know there’s something up there.There are times when the dog will make a mistake and pick the wrong tree, hence, he’s‘barking up the wrong tree’.
The earliest account recorded of this expression is 1832. James Kirke Paulding, author of Westard Ho!, wrote: “Here he made a note in his book, and I begun to smoke him for one of those fellows that drive a sort of a trade of making books about old Kentuck and the western country: so I thought I’d set him barking up the wrong tree a little, and I told him some stories that were enough to set the Mississippi a-fire; but he put them all down in his book.”
Neal Wooten, my publisher, posted this list of idioms on Facebook. I thought you may find these amusing.
While in the south, Benjamin Hawkins was requested by the President of the U.S. to return to Washington . In his response, he was said to write, “God willing and the Creek don’t rise.” Because he capitalized the word “Creek” it is deduced that he was referring to the Creek Indian tribe and not abody of water.
In George Washington’s days, there were no cameras. 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, ‘It’ll cost you an arm and a leg.’
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 ‘Big Wig’ because someone appears to be or is powerful and wealthy.
In the late 1700’s, many houses consisted of a large room with only one chair. 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.’
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.’
Ladies wore corsets, which would lace up in the front. A proper and dignified woman wore a tightly tied lace, as in ‘straight laced.’
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. These people were thought to be stupid or dumb because they weren’t‘playing with a full deck.’
Early politicians required feedback from the public to determine what the people considered important. They sent their assistants to local taverns, pubs, and bars and were told ‘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.’
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 phrase ‘minding your P’s and Q’s’.
War ships and many freighters carried iron cannons. It was necessary to keep a good supply of cannon balls near the cannon. 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. To prevent the bottom layer from sliding, 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.)
The history of idioms is interesting, which makes me want to learn more. How about you?
What common sayings would you like to know more about?Leave your mystifying phrase(s) below for me to play Internet Sleuth this week, then be on the look out for my discovery in an upcoming post!;)
Did you know… Most of Santa’s reindeer have male-sounding names, such as Blitzen, Comet, and Cupid. However, male reindeer shed their antlers around Christmas, so the reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh are likely not male, but female or castrati.*
This is my Friday to link up to my regular weekend meme fun! Let’s dash over to…
Each week, Hilary lists four statements with a blank for you to fill in on your own blogs. If you want to join the fun and come up with four fill in’s of your own, please email them to her at email@example.com. If she uses them, she will add you as co-host to the hop! This week’s co-host is Jen from What Would Jen Do. She came up with the last two statements.
Hilary would LOVE it if you could please help her spread the word about this hop…. So, please tweet, FaceBook share, and add the linky to your post!
This week’s statements:
1. ____ is my ideal winter night.
2. I don’t remember the last time I ___ but, I really want to.
3. I will never turn down __________
4. To save money I like to ____________
1. All snuggled in the living room with the Christmas lights and my New England village illuminating its warm, cheery glow across the wall, with snow flakes dancing quietly to the ground while we watch movies in our cozy sweats without a worry. This is my ideal winter night.
2. I don’t remember the last time I did….see, it’s been so long I forgot, but, if I could remember I’m sure I’d really want to do it again.
3. I will never turn down chocolate, Lake Champlain chocolates! Ooo, to die for chocolates!!
4. To save money I like to buy clothing only when it’s on sale, usually at the end of a season when I can get stuff dirt cheap. I also like using coupons in the grocery store and online whenever possible. I’m not a big couponer, but will use only the ones on brands I normally buy.