WHAT did you say? – Common Phrases & Sayings & Where they came from.

Sometimes the strangest things will come out of my mouth, “Old Sayings” that I do not even know what they mean.  So I thought I would make a list of the 10 I say most often and research them and tell you what they really mean.

1. Barking up the Wrong Tree.sayings justmy2cents bark

This is really a hunting term.  Dogs on the hunt chase or acknowledge where the target prey has gone, barking up the wrong tree is simply that, the dog directing his mater that he went “thataway” mistakenly

2. Beating around the Bushsayings justmy2cents bush

Believe it or not yet another hunting phrase, this is when in the hunt for wild boars.  Boars tend to hide in the bushes, dogs were encouraged to run into the brush also to get the boar to come out to be killed but instead many dogs who had already had their day with a boar feared the horns of the boar so they would bark and dance around the bush trying to get the boar to expose himself without get harmed themselves.

3. No Spring Chickensayings justmy2cents spring chicken

New England chicken farmers discovered that chickens born in the Spring bought better prices, rather than old birds that had gone through the winter etc. Sometimes farmers tried to sell the old birds as a new spring born chicken. Smart buyers often complained that a tough fowl was “no spring chicken” and so the term now is used to represent birds (and even people) past their plump and tender years.

4. Bring Home the Baconsayings justmy2cents bacon

If you were the lucky winner at the Country Fair to catch the greased pig, you literally got to be the one to BRING HOME THE BACON.   Today the term is used to mean bringing home money.

5. Nip it in the Budsayings justmy2cents nip

In order to get the best fruit a plant has to have a lot of buds snipped off.  Buds were “nipped” off to improve the fruit that remained.  Today the word is used to refer to a sudden STOP , STOP THAT NOW, in order to “prune” what is ailing the project before we move on.  

6. Bury the Hatchetsayings justmy2cents hatchet

Based on an actual practice of North American Indians. When negotiating peace, they buried all their weapons; their tomahawks, scalping knives and clubs. Apart from showing their good faith, simultaneously it made it impossible for them to go on fighting.

7. Sick as a Dogsayings justmy2cents sick dog

The saying “as sick as a dog” has its origins in the fact that dogs will eat almost anything usually followed by getting very ill only to eat anything they throw up too.

8. It´s Raining Cats and Dogssayings justmy2cents raining

Back in the 1500´s, cats and dogs would sleep up in the thatched roofs. This got very difficult when it rained, since the straw would become slippery and they would slide right off the roof, making it appear that it was indeed raining animals.

9. Holding a Wakesayings justmy2cents wake

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would sometimes, as could be expected, knock the imbibers out for a couple of days.  Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of holding a wake.

10. Put a Sock in Itsayings justmy2cents gramaphone

In the late 19th century gramophones or record players had large horns to amplify the sounds.  The machines had no volume controls so an easy way to lower the sound was to stuff a wool sock inside the horn.

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