Tuesday, March 22, 2022

ORIGINS OF WORDS AND PHRASES

--------oOo--------


Caught red handed:

The expression dates from the 15th century in Scotland where the law demanded that for a person to be punished for butchering an animal that wasn’t their own was if they were caught with the animal’s blood still on their hands.

An earlier form of 'red-handed', simply 'red hand', dates back to a usage in the Scottish Acts of Parliament of James I, 1432.

Red-hand appears in print many times in Scottish legal proceedings from the 15th century onward; for example, this piece from Sir George Mackenzie's A discourse upon the laws and customs of Scotland in matters criminal, 1674:
"If he be not taken red-hand the sheriff cannot proceed against him."
The earliest known printed version of 'red-handed' is from Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe, 1819:
"I did but tie one fellow, who was taken redhanded and in the fact, to the horns of a wild stag."
It is thought that Scott’s use of the terms helped popularize and expand its use.

--------oOo--------


Throw the baby out with the bathwater:

One explanation often offered is that in the early 1500s, people only bathed once a year. Not only that, but they also bathed in the same water without changing it! The adult males would bath first, then the females, leaving the children and babies to go last. By the time the babies got in, the water was clouded with filth. It is said that the mothers had to take extra care that their babies were not thrown out with the bathwater.

Not so.

The phrase appears to be German in origin, and simply means that the good should not be discarded along with the bad due to inattention or haste.

The term was always used as a metaphor to suggest that people should not race to hasty decisions, not that parents would actually throw their baby out after bathing.

--------oOo--------


Rub the wrong way:

Meaning to irritate or repel someone, there are 2 possible origins

1. Early Americans, during the colonial times, would ask their servants to rub their oak floorboards “the right way”. The wrong way (not wiping them with dry fabric after wet fabric) would cause streaks to form and ruin it, leaving the homeowner annoyed. An alternative explanation in this vein is when servants scrubbed floors against the grain of the wood, leading to streaks on the floor.

2. Rubbing a cat’s fur the “wrong way,” which annoys them.

--------oOo--------


Cracklin’ Rosie:

The lyrics of this Neil Diamond song suggest to some a devotion to a woman of the night:
Oh, I love my Rosie child —
You got the way to make me happy.
You and me, we go in style...
Cracklin' Rose, you're a store bought woman
But you make me sing like a guitar hummin' ...
"Crackling Rosé" is the name of an inexpensive sparkling wine once produced by Andres Wines of British Columbia, Canada, which was popular among the indigenous population.

One explanation for Diamond writing the song suggests that Diamond heard a story about a native Canadian tribe while doing an interview in Toronto, Canada—the tribe had more men than women, so the lonely men of the tribe would sit around the fire and drink their wine together—which inspired him to write the song.

Btw, Diamond is now aged 81

On March 7, 2020, despite his retirement due to Parkinson's disease, Diamond gave a rare performance at the Keep Memory Alive Power of Love Gala at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, where he was being honoured.

On March 22, 2020, Diamond posted a video to YouTube playing "Sweet Caroline" with slightly modified lyrics ("...washing hands, don't touch me, I won't touch you...") in response to the widespread social distancing measures implemented due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.

--------oOo--------


You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink:

The idea behind the phrase is thought to go back to the 12th century. It’s said to have made an appearance in a book called Old English Homilies, 1175.

The phrase itself dates back to the 16th century. It appears in a book during that time by John Heywood called A Dialogue Conteinyng The Nomber in effect of all the Prouerbes in the English Tongue, 1546:
“A man may well bryng a horse to the water, but he can not make hym drynke without he will.”
By the way, US author, humorist, poet, & wit (1893 - 1967) Dorothy Parker, was\ challenged by American columnist and wit Franklin P Adams to use the word 'horticulture' in a sentence. She replied:
You can lead a whore to culture, but you can't make her think.

 


Dorothy Parker

This bit of wit took place when a group was playing word games of incorporating specific words in sentences and making the result humorous.

At the same gathering, Frank Adams was challenged to come up with a sentence using the word “meretricious”. His reply was “Meretricious ‘n’ a Happy New Year.”

--------oOo--------

No comments:

Post a Comment