Monday, September 27, 2021

SOME ORIGINS OF WORDS AND PHRASES

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By the same token:

Meaning:

For the same reason, in the same vein

Origin:

The word “token” has an old meaning of something being symbolic, or a sign, of something else. Even a marked piece of lead could be a token that was exchanged for money. From there it came to mean a fact or piece of evidence that could be used as proof. Hence in the original meaning, by the same token meant that what was used to prove one thing could also be used to prove another. It was usually used to indicate two seemingly opposing things that arioe from the same circumstance. As the use of it developed, the expression was weakened from evidence to the things being somehow associated.
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Get on a soapbox:

Meaning:

To get on a raised platform to stand to make an impromptu speech, often about a political subject. From there it has expanded to anyone addressing lsiteners to argue a point or make a speech.

Origin:

In the late 1800s soap and other dry goods were transported in wooden crates from manufacturers to retail stores. Would-be motivators of crowds would use the crates to stand on as makeshift podiums to make speeches, or sales pitches. The soap box then became a metaphor for spontaneous speech making or getting on a roll about a favourite topic.

The modern equivalent would be the ubiquitous plastic milk crate:
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Tomfoolery:

Meaning:

Foolishness that goes beyond mere foolery.

Origin:

Early in the 1300s the Latin term Thomas fatuus started appearing, the word Thomas being generic for any person and the word fatuus meaning stupid or foolish in Latin. That has given us the words fatuous and infatuate. By 1356 Thomas fatuus had become Tom Fool.

Around the seventeenth century, the character of Tom Fool shifted from a stupid or half-witted person to that of a fool or buffoon. He became a character who accompanied morris-dancers or formed part of the cast of various British plays.

A tom-fool was more foolish than an ordinary, garden variety of fool. Tomfoolery was similarly worse than foolery, the state of acting foolishly, which had been in English since the sixteenth century.
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Go bananas:

Meaning:

To go crazy.

Origin:

The expression “go bananas” is slang, and the origin is a bit harder to pin down. It became popular in the 1950s, around the same time as “go ape,” so there may have been some association between apes, bananas, and crazy behavior. Also, banana is just a funny-sounding word. In the 1920s people said “banana oil!” to mean “nonsense!”
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Run of the Mill:

Meaning:

Something average, ordinary, nothing special.

Origin:

It most likely originally referred to a run from a textile mill. It’s the product that has just been manufactured, before it’s been decorated or embellished. There were related phrases like “run of the mine,” for chunks of coal that hadn’t been sorted by size yet, and “run of the kiln,” for bricks as they came out without being sorted for quality yet.
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Hands down:

Meaning:

To win convincingly.

Origin:

The origin of the idiom “hands down” is found in horse racing history and dates back to the middle of the 19th century. When a horse was so far ahead of the rest that a win was assured, the jockey would loosen his grip on the reins and drop his hands as he and his horse approached the finish line.
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