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Archive for the 'English Language' Category

Clean this mess up, I want it to be spick and span.

Posted by Gregov on 12th March 2008

spick and span - Perhaps you’ve polished your car and it looked "spick and span" or maybe one day you were convinced to buy that new cleaning product on TV because you were assured that your kitchen would be "spick and span" after usage. The phrase is derived from two archaic words: spick, which was a spike or nail and span, which meant "wood chip." When a ship was polished and new, it was called "spick and span," meaning every nail and piece of wood was untarnished. The phrase originally meant "brand new" but is now used to indicate cleanliness.

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Just cut to the chase and skip the big speech.

Posted by Gregov on 11th March 2008

cut to the chase -Remember going to watch those old black and white silent films? Sure you do! Well, you’ve probably heard of them, anyway. In the black and white silent film movie error, in the 1920s, a chase scene was often the exciting part of the film. Who really wanted to sit through that other stuff, anyway? Cut to the chase meant to cut the film, or edit it down to the good part, the chase scene––no speaking necessary!

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Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water!

Posted by Gregov on 10th March 2008

don’t throw the baby out with the bath water – What’s one to do when they only have one basin of bath water and a litter of children to be bathed? Easy! Use the same bath water and dump it out when your last child gets lost in it! Back in the pre-running water days, the order of the household determined which family member got to take the bath first. The man (or head of the household) naturally went first, followed by the children and the baby last. The water would become so dirty that when a baby was bathed in it, he could possibly be lost or even tossed out! Of course, one would hope that the parents would have enough common sense to check first!

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He is a real son of a gun.

Posted by Gregov on 9th March 2008

son of a gun – One version of this saying is that sailors traveling to the west Indies sometimes raped native woman on ships, which sometimes occurred between the cannons. When a woman gave birth to a son, he was called "son between the guns." This term was used later, using the word"gun" to mean soldier. His son would thus be called a "son of a gun." Other etymologists speculate that son of a gun meant an illegitimate son of a soldier, who would be nicknamed "gun." How "son of a gun" transformed into it’s current usage is unknown…well I"ll be damned or "son of a gun!"

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The big wig will visit our office today.

Posted by Gregov on 8th March 2008

big wig- Picture a big puffy white haired gentleman and then you’ll be picturing a "big wig." This term is derived from powdered wigs worn by men in the 18th century. The bigger the wig, the more wealthy the individual. Who knows, perhaps someday wigs for men will go back in style!

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I moved everything but the Kitchen sink…

Posted by Gregov on 7th March 2008

Everything but the kitchen sink – comes from World War Two when everything possible was used to contribute to the war effort…all metal was used for the U.S arsenal. The only objects left out were porcelain kitchen sinks. Does anyone still have a porcelain sink?

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