A week or so ago, I brought out some old, time-honored common phrases and expressions that get used everyday and yet, when you stop and think about them, you might not have any idea what the reason was to create that expression.
I present here a few more common expressions and their origins for you to look over.
Don't Throw the Baby Out with the Bathwater
Meaning: Hang on to valuable things when getting rid of unnecessary things
History: During the 1500s, most people bathed once a year. Even when they did bathe, the entire family used the same tubful of water. The man of the house bathed first, followed by other males, then females, and finally the babies. You can imagine how thick and cloudy the water became by that time, so the infants' mothers had to take care not to throw them out with the bathwater when they emptied the tub.
Give the Cold Shoulder
Meaning: A rude way of telling someone he isn't welcome
History: Although giving someone the cold shoulder today is considered rude, it was actually regarded as a polite gesture in medieval England. After a feast, the host would let his guests know it was time to leave by giving them a cold piece of meat from the shoulder of beef, mutton, or pork.
Go Cold Turkey
Meaning: To quit something abruptly
History: People believed that during withdrawal, the skin of drug addicts became translucent, hard to the touch, and covered with goose bumps like the skin of a plucked turkey.
Meaning: One who crosses the street in a reckless or illegal manner.
History: Jay birds that traveled outside of the forest into urban areas often became confused and unaware of the potential dangers in the city like traffic. Amused by their erratic behavior, people began using the term "Jaywalker" to describe someone who crossed the street irresponsibly.
Kick the Bucket
Meaning: To die
History: When a cow was killed at a slaughterhouse, a bucket was placed under it while it was positioned on a pulley. Sometimes the animal's legs would kick during the adjustment of the rope and it would literally kick the bucket before being killed.
Let Your Hair Down
Meaning: To relax or be at ease
History: Parisian nobles risked condemnation from their peers if they appeared in public without an elaborate hairdo. Some of the more intricate styles required hours of work, so of course it was a relaxing ritual for these aristocrats to come home at the end of a long day and let their hair down.
Sometimes, when you take a little time to dig beneath the surface, you can find out all kinds of historical and informative things hmm, when my teachers in school told me people never stop learning, they just weren't kidding..