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36 Unexpected Origins Of Everyday British Phrases

Society & Culture  (tags: society, language, interesting, news )

- 1522 days ago -
Etymology, my dear Watson.

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Roger G (154)
Sunday April 20, 2014, 2:42 pm
noted, thanks

Freya H (357)
Sunday April 20, 2014, 3:31 pm
Interesting, except the "brass monkey" story is bogus. See

David C (129)
Sunday April 20, 2014, 3:52 pm

Elizabeth M (65)
Sunday April 20, 2014, 4:53 pm
Noted with thanks Carrie. I really enjoyed this article of where phrases originated.

Birgit W (160)
Sunday April 20, 2014, 6:05 pm
Most of these phrases are being used here in Canada too. Thanks for sharing.

Süheyla C (234)
Sunday April 20, 2014, 6:13 pm

Past Member (0)
Sunday April 20, 2014, 7:47 pm
I love this stuff, even when there are competing explanations.

Past Member (0)
Sunday April 20, 2014, 8:09 pm

Past Member (0)
Sunday April 20, 2014, 8:10 pm
By Jove I think you've got it Watson

Nimue Michelle Pendragon Gaze (339)
Sunday April 20, 2014, 8:14 pm
A lot of these still used in Australia. Very interesting. Thanks :)

P A (117)
Sunday April 20, 2014, 11:52 pm
Fascinating - I knew most of them - but mercifully didn't know the back story of item 30 - that poor little girl! I knew it was also referred to as Sweet Fanny Adams but took that to be a delicate way of avoiding swearing - oh my! I am also (truly) mildly dyslexic - but I think there is a typo in item 35 - wasn't it Sir Peter Lely who painted Cromwell et al - I have looked at it several times but I do think it says Levy not Lely....

Ted W (127)
Monday April 21, 2014, 3:04 am
Noted!! I had heard most all of them but didnt know their origins!! Thanks Carrie!!! :)

Monika K (13)
Monday April 21, 2014, 3:25 am

Past Member (0)
Monday April 21, 2014, 4:47 am
The wisdom from the past

Past Member (0)
Monday April 21, 2014, 6:48 am
Enjoyed reading this, thanks.

Past Member (0)
Monday April 21, 2014, 8:08 am

Lona G (80)
Monday April 21, 2014, 10:50 am
Thanks Carrie, I just love to read things like this, I sometimes read a few pages from my etymological dictionary for the fun of reading where words and phrases derive from. Yeah, I know, weird.

. (0)
Monday April 21, 2014, 2:04 pm
I really ejoyed this.

Athena F (131)
Monday April 21, 2014, 6:14 pm

Joanne Dixon (38)
Monday April 21, 2014, 8:05 pm
#19 Over the weekend, looking at petitions, including one to Apple to protect their workers from the toxic chemicals used in their products, it occurred to me that the 21st century version of "mad as a hatter" ought to be "mad as an I-Padder." The more things change....
#24 Lillian de la Torre used this cleverly in a short story in which Samuel Johnson (lexicographer and Shakespeare scholar) was her detective. She had a slightly different explanation though. I consider all her stories well worth a look.

Barbara Tomlinson (431)
Monday April 21, 2014, 8:07 pm
What fun!
I always was told, that to many people, calling on "The Devil" was Bad Luck - because He might suddenly appear!!!
Also, in Victorian times, any reference {outside of preaching!} to Hell, the Devil, or even God, was considered Blasphemy, or at least impolite!
So you have such formulations as "by gosh!" or "oh heck"! And "the Dickens" was just something beginning with "D" that stood in for "Devil" - it was either more SAFE, or more POLITE, depending on your point-of-view!

"What the Devil" was something a rakish young man might say, but not in front of ladies! and it was censored in some Victorian books...
"What the Dickens" could be said in the tender hearing of Women and Children...

Sheila D (194)
Tuesday April 22, 2014, 5:16 pm
Thanks for the fun, Carrie...always love these.
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