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Phrases and their origins

Started by: raymyjamie (6857)

Phrases and their origins

A sight for sore eyes.
Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver's Travels, first used this phrase in ‘A complete collection of genteel and ingenious conversation’, 1738, with the line "The Sight of you is good for sore Eyes."

A stone’s throw.
This term for 'a short distance' is a variation of 'a stone's cast', first used in early editions of the Bible, but it fell out of use.
Writer John Arbuthnot revived it in “The History of John Bull”, in 1712.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
This sweet saying came from the Roman poet Sextus Propertius Elegies:
"Always toward absent lovers love's tide stronger flows."
In 1832, the modern variant of the phrase was coined by a 'Miss Strickland' in ‘The Pocket Magazine of Classic and Polite Literature.’

Namby pamby
'Namby Pamby' was a nickname invented in the eighteenth century by poets John Gay, Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift to mock the English poet and playwright Ambrose Philips.
Philips, a tutor to King George’s grandchildren, gained notoriety for the sycophantic poems he wrote about his charges, often using babyish language such as “eensy weesy”, and his rival poets gave his own name the same treatment.

The acid test
This term came from the California Gold Rush in the 19th century/
The acid-test ratio gets its name from the historic use of acid to test metals for gold.
If acid was applied to a metal and didn't corrode it, that meant it was real gold.

Started: 13th Apr 2021 at 18:52
Last edited by raymyjamie: 13th Apr 2021 at 21:44:43

Posted by: tonker (23577) 

Ray, owd lad, you've got something wrong there.
I'm not going to tell you what it is, just in case you start showing the 'race card' and blaming me for picking on you for nowt.
It's wrong. Find it yourself!

Replied: 13th Apr 2021 at 20:40

Posted by: raymyjamie (6857)

Tonker, I found another definition for 'The Acid Test'.
The acid-test ratio gets its name from the historic use of acid to test metals for gold.
If acid was applied to a metal and didn't corrode it, that meant it was real gold.

The original definition said if you 'dissolved' the metal it was gold, why would you dissolve your gold away?

Replied: 13th Apr 2021 at 20:51

Posted by: tonker (23577) 

It isn't that, although that's wrong too!

Replied: 13th Apr 2021 at 21:31

Posted by: raymyjamie (6857)

"Absence makes the heart grow stronger."

It of course is "Absence makes the heart grow FONDER.

Thanks for the 'heads up' Tonker

Replied: 13th Apr 2021 at 21:40

Posted by: tonker (23577) 

Cheeeeeese and Dog Meeeeeeat!

Replied: 13th Apr 2021 at 23:04

Posted by: lectriclegs (4128)

“Keep your friends close and your enemies closer” meaning

“Keep your friends close and your enemies closer” means that whilst having close friendships is essential, keeping on top of your enemies is even more critical as it enables you to defend yourself should they attack.

Replied: 3rd May 2021 at 14:25

Posted by: lectriclegs (4128)

On your bike!

UK slang
a rude way of telling someone to go away:

Replied: 4th May 2021 at 17:35

 

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