Monday, March 31, 2008

Idiot's Guide to Idioms

Don’t worry, I’m the biggest idiot of all. I thought an idiom was a quote from an idiot…

Turns out it’s a word to describe all those sayings we seem to use but don’t know the meaning of. Let’s take a look at a few examples:

Cold Turkey. To immediately stop a habit such as smoking without the aid of anything to help.

Now what exactly does a freezing fowl have to do with this? Did the pilgrims develop a fixation for Turkey that had to be abruptly called off at some point? Is it like after Thanksgiving when for like a week of solid Turkey for lunch, Turkey for dinner, you just go crazy and stop? Actually, the reference is from going off of heroin. Seems the process makes your skin grow cold and look like poultry. Plus, you act really stupid and have some weird thing hanging from your chin (ok, I made that last part up)

Cute as a Bugs Ear: On the theory that the smaller they come, the cuter they are

First of all, do bugs even have ears? And even if they do, do you really think they would be cute? Do you use the word cute to describe any bug other than a ladybug? Let’s examine:

See; not exactly what I would call cute. There didn’t seem to be any references to the origin of this one. Probably started by a bug!

Dog Days: It means extremely hot days (which are usually mid to late summer).

I suppose this one implies that it is so hot out we have to lay around like dogs. I don’t think it implies that we should urinate on fire hydrants and trees or that we should go around sniffing other people’s butts or anything. I’m not an authority here though so don’t quote me. Actually the name comes from the dog star 'Sirius' which is in the same part of the sky as the sun is. So what? Isn’t that star there when it’s winter too? I just don’t understand

Dropping Like Flies: This idiom means dead very quickly or falling down ill and in large numbers.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve NEVER seen a fly just suddenly drop dead. Believe me, I’ve wished it! Rather, I have to hunt down and kill the stubborn bastards myself. I swear I’ve had some in the house that seem to live forever. This one actually comes from a story in which a child uses his belt to kill several flies. The stroy was 'The Brave Little Tailor' by the Brothers Grimm. No wonder the brothers were Grimm; flies!

Know which way the wind blows: When circumstances change and you still understand what is happening
Oh come on. Don’t all guys know which way the wind blows? Just take a wiz outside and you’ll know right away! And don’t forget the words of Jim Croce “Don’t spit in the wind…” The origin of this one goes back to the Bible in John 3:8 but meant something entirely different back then. The idiom refers to a person who thinks he knows the direction that God is leading him, but is mistaken. Boy, come to think of it that way; we have a lot of people now who don’t know which way the wind blows…

27 comments:

G-Man said...

Bob Dylan said you didn't need a weatherman!

...sorry, I just can't pass up an empty comment box....G

Sunshine said...

Bug's ear. NOT cute.

Beth said...

You've inspired me. I'm going to look up "three sheets to the wind."
(A recent, personal - and rare - experience.)

VE said...

g-man - Welcome. What good are weatherman anyway? How many jobs can you have where you're mostly wrong? Stop by any time, the box is always there...

sunshine - That's what I thought. I think we should have to right to ban stupid idioms

beth - Yeah, I could have really gone on and on with these there were so many. Three sheets? I don't think I even own three sheets.

VE said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RED MOJO said...

Wow, that was funny and educational. I wonder about "party like a rock-star" I guess it means drink a lot, do some drugs, have some anonymous sex, and trash your hotel room, hmmm, so cryptic!

ChristineEldin said...

I like your definition of idioms!

VE said...

red mojo - I don't know if I can afford to party like a rock star. I'll have to stick with partying like a polka star first.

christine - Thanks. At least I'm honest enough to admit I had no idea what these things were called. I'm amazed at the simple things I never learned in school (ok, maybe not...)

Theresa said...

How about "straight from the horse's mouth?" I don't know about you, but I've never heard a horse say anything, so what's with that?

VE said...

theresa - Good one! But wait, what about Mr. Ed?

lime said...

ok, now tell me about the cat's pajamas. i really think the cat would not be happy as a pig in mud if you tried to get it to wear pajamas.

VE said...

lime - I agree. That would just piss him off and he'd probably find some place to spray and subsequently piss me off. Anyway, I'd be pissed it I had to wear pajamas too!

leelee said...

My Mom used to say "Cute as a tick" I guess she meant bug...but a tick?? soooooo not cute.

VE said...

leelee - I'll agree with you on that one. There is NOTHING cute about a tick; especially if they are burrowing into your flesh.

Kurt said...

What would you call it if you quit eating turkey "without the aid of anything to help?"

Marie said...

Brad and I were talking about this last night. I was complaining about how I have to pretend to talk on my cell phone as I enter and exit the grocery store to avoid panhandlers- who don't even bother to handle pans anymore.

VE said...

Kurt - You are just too tricky. You're going to crash the Matrix with thoughts like that!

VE said...

marie - Good one. Pans are heavy you know. Cardboard signs are much lighter...and support recycling.

Jacki said...

Another one I always here is "more than you can shake a stick at."

Jeff said...

Did you know "balls to the wall" has nothing to do with... well, balls?

In fact it is from fighter planes. The "balls" are knobs atop the plane's throttle control. Pushing the throttle all the way forward, to the wall of the cockpit, is to apply full throttle.

I like these community service posts.

VE said...

jacki - I don't know; I can shake a stick at a lot of things!

jeff - Thanks for clearing that one up; I always wondered about that one because it sounded painful...and Lance Armstrong wouldn't even be able to do it because it implies balls plural!

Serena Joy said...

I like idioms, and I've heard some pretty idiotic ones in my lifetime. Like you, I never did get "cute as a bug's ear" or "cold turkey." And what the heck are "the bee's knees?" And how did an addiction turn into a "monkey on your back?" I like monkeys, but I'd never let one ride on my back now because I'd get mistaken for a three sheets to the wind junkie.:)

VE said...

sj - Yeah, I thought of you while doing the post. I knew you'd do a hell of a job on these...

elasticwaistbandlady said...

My Erotic Equine group particularly loves the idiom:

Hold Your Horses.

Oh, and we do. We hold em realll tight.

VE said...

elastic - Suddeny that has taken on a different meaning

Sornie said...

Hold on, you're saying that it's NOT normal to urinate on fire hydrants. I think I have some self-examination to do.

VE said...

sornie - Clearly you have canine tendencies...