Bet You Didn’t Know These Strange Origins of Common Sayings and Idioms
Have you ever stopped to wonder where some of the sayings and idioms we use every day come from? Many of them have strange and unexpected origins that you may not know about. Here are some fascinating examples:
1. “Cat got your tongue?” – This phrase is used to ask someone why they’re not speaking, but its origin is uncertain. Some believe it comes from the practice of whipping someone with a cat-o’-nine-tails until they couldn’t speak, while others think it refers to the silent nature of cats when they catch prey.
2. “Bite the bullet” – This phrase means to endure a painful or difficult situation, and it originated from the days when soldiers would bite down on a bullet during surgery to help them cope with the pain.
3. “Break a leg” – This well-known phrase is used to wish someone good luck, but its origin is a bit macabre. It actually comes from the superstition that wishing someone good luck before a performance will bring bad luck, so instead, performers started wishing each other to “break a leg” as a reverse psychology technique.
4. “Raining cats and dogs” – This phrase is used to describe heavy rain, but its origin is unclear. Some believe it comes from the Norse myth of Odin, who would ride his horse through the sky during storms, while others think it refers to the fact that cats and dogs would shelter together during heavy rain.
5. “Saved by the bell” – This phrase means to be rescued from a difficult situation, and it originated from the practice of placing a bell in coffins to ensure that anyone who was buried alive could ring it and be rescued.
6. “In the doghouse” – This phrase means to be in trouble or out of favor, and it originated from the practice of keeping hunting dogs in a small, uncomfortable house when they misbehaved.
7. “Spill the beans” – This phrase means to reveal a secret, and it originated from ancient Greece, where people would vote by placing beans in a jar. If someone accidentally spilled the beans, it would reveal who had the most votes.
These are just a few examples of the strange and fascinating origins of common sayings and idioms. Next time you use one of these phrases, take a moment to think about where it came from – you might be surprised!