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Eat Crow

Volume 3. Issue 1. 

It’s been a while since my last post, so I decided to move on to volume 3. 

What was said? They are going to eat crow when they begin to realize their gaps…

Did someone really say that? Yesa team member said it about a company who was far behind industry standards

What does it mean? It means you are proven wrong, typically through humiliation.

Origin:  The expression has to do with being proved incorrect, like “eat dirt”, “eat your hat/shoe” … all originating from “eat one’s words” which appears in print starting in 1571 in one of John Calvin’s tracts, on Psalm 62: “God eateth not his words when he hath once spoken.” Eating a “crow” is thought of as distasteful and the crow is seen as unfit for eating in the Bible, Leviticus Chapter 11.

To “eat crow” also has to do with humbling oneself to admit to being wrong (equivalent to a British expression “to eat humble pie”). The original phrase is believed to be “to eat boiled crow”, but either way, using the term “eat crow” to mean to be proven wrong, is thought to have first appeared in or around 1850. A story was published in the Saturday Evening Post called “Can you eat crow?” about a NY farmer whose boarders complained about being fed poorly and he responded saying he “kin eat anything” and the boarders tested him by asking if he would eat crow, to which he accepted the challenge but spiked it with Scotch and said “I kin eat crow, but i be darned if I hanker after it.”

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eating_crow
http://www.worldwidewords.org/articles/eatcrow.htm
http://linguisticmystic.com/2006/12/29/eating-crow-an-english-idiom-and-an-example-of-its-use-in-my-personal-life/

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The Proof is in the Pudding

Volume 2. Issue 5.

What was said? The HBO made-for-tv movie “Game Change” on Sarah Palin was very well done… it really shows that the proof is in the pudding.

Did someone really say that? Yes on NPR’s On the Media segment.

What does it mean? To fully test something you need to experience it yourself.

Origin:  The original expression was “the proof of the pudding is in the eating” where the word “proof” really means “test” (like in geometry class).

Different sources suggest different dates for when this phrase came into existence:

  • 14th century according to the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations
  • 1605 printed example – William Camden’s Remaines of a Greater Worke Concerning Britaine: “All the proof of  a pudding is in the eating”
  • 1615 printed example – Miguel de Cervantes in Don Quixote: “The proof of the pudding is the eating”

Also important to note that at the time the phrase was used, pudding was not merely the jello variety in chocolate and vanilla… but typically included meat, oatmeal, and other things we don’t need to mention here.

Here’s Flula’s YouTube on “the proof is in the pudding” where his lesson #1 is don’t put your proof in the pudding…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVApHh5Rax4

Sources:
http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/proof-of-the-pudding.html
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=the%20proof%20is%20in%20the%20pudding

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Motherhood and Apple Pie

Volume 2. Issue 4.

What was said? Corporate Social Responsibility is like motherhood and apple pie.

Did someone really say that? Yes… just another idiom I have never heard of used at work.

What does it mean? Basic principles or values with which everyone agrees on. A “motherhood and apple pie” issue is an issue which is universally agreed upon just as no one would disparage “motherhood” and everyone likes apple pie.

Also, can mean something that is very “American” due to another adaptation which is “As American as baseball, hotdogs, motherhood and apple pie”.

Origin:

A couple of versions of origin, both having to do with American soldiers in WWII.

1) Soldiers stationed overseas were quoted saying “mom and apple pie” when asked what they missed most being away from home, conjuring up cozy memories

2) “for Mom and apple pie” was supposedly the stock answer of soldiers whenever journalists asked why they were going to war

“Motherhood and apple pie day” is celebrated each January 26 in Virginia and has been since at least 1950: The twenty-sixth day of January of each year shall be recognized and celebrated as Motherhood and Apple Pie Day throughout the Commonwealth. Upon this date, all citizens of the Commonwealth are urged to reflect upon the need to continue efforts to reduce the state’s infant mortality rate to preserve our heritage and to ensure the health and well-being of future generations. (Code of Virginia: Title 2.2, Section 2.2 3303)

Sources:
http://law.onecle.com/virginia/administration-of-government/2.2-3303.html
http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/motherhood_and_apple_pie
http://www.usingenglish.com/forum/english-idioms-sayings/37062-motherhood-apple-pie.html
http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=1071943 

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Wear my heart on my sleeve

Volume 2. Issue 3. Valentine’s Day Edition!

What was said? I know what you mean, I wear my heart on my sleeve.

Did someone really say that? Yes, when discussing my need to work on my poker face, my co-worker Tony replied with that.

What does it mean? Show your emotions openly, without hiding your feelings

Origin: We have Shakespeare to thank for this one.  Back in 1604, in Othello, the treacherous Iago’s plan was to feign openness and vulnerability in order to appear faithful to Othello (NOTE: The usual intent of the saying is not to deceive)

It is sure as you are Roderigo,
Were I the Moor, I would not be Iago:
In following him, I follow but myself;
Heaven is my judge, not I for love and duty,
But seeming so, for my peculiar end:
For when my outward action doth demonstrate
The native act and figure of my heart
In compliment extern, ’tis not long after
But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve
For daws to peck at: I am not what I am.

Another Option: Even earlier in the middle ages, knights in jousting matches are said to have worn the colours of the lady they were supporting, in cloths or ribbons tied to their arms.

Sources:
http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/403000.html
http://www.joe-ks.com/phrases/phrasesW.htm

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Knee-High to a Grasshopper

Volume 2. Issue 2.

What was said? Have you heard of “knee-high to a grasshopper?”

Did someone really say that? Yes, when discussing my idiom newsletter at a colleague’s farewell party, a Partner asked me if I knew of that idiom… which I naturally did not.

What does it mean? Two meanings: 1) To be very young 2) Very short

Used in context :

1) Back when I was knee-high to a grasshopper, I used to play hopscotch.
2) You will need a ladder… you are just about knee-high to a grasshopper!

Origin:

Originally recorded in 1814 as knee-high to a toad, this American Idiom has taken many forms… knee-high to a frog, bumblebee, splinter, mosquito, jackrabbit and…grasshopper.

In the Democratic Review in 1851 it was said “You pretend to be my daddies; some of you who are not knee-high to a grasshopper!

Among the >17k species of grasshoppers, reaching knee-high to a grasshopper would mean that a person is roughly less than an inch tall… that’s pretty short.

Sources:

http://www.bookbrowse.com/wordplay/archive/detail/index.cfm?wordplay_number=8 

http://www.answers.com/topic/knee-high-to-a-grasshopper

http://www.allaboutstuff.com/Critters/Knee_High_to_a_Grasshopper.asp

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Grasshopper

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Shooting Fish in a Barrel

Volume 2. Issue 1. (It’s a new year, we’re moving on)

What was said? Come on guys… this is like shooting fish in a barrel.

Did someone really say that? Yes… in my virtual book club at work, the moderator said that when no one volunteered to give their opinion / answer to his question. (Also, an avid subscriber sent me the link to the YouTube video below).

What does it mean? It means that it’s a really simple action with guaranteed success.

Origin: Prior to the modern days of refrigeration, fish were packed and stored in large barrels. The barrels were packed to the rim full of fish. As such, any shot the entered the barrel would be guaranteed to hit at least one of them. This being the case, nothing would be easier than shooting fish in a barrel.

There are some skeptics out there, so this became a feature on Discovery’s MythBusters Season 5 (article below)… where they proved that “shooting fish in a barrel is a whole lot easier than finding the original source of that adage.”

Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Where_did_the_phrase_like_shooting_fish_in_a_barrel_originate_What_does_it_mean#ixzz1ktGvHjwu

Sources:

Check out this video:

http://dsc.discovery.com/fansites/mythbusters/db/animals/shooting-killing-fish-barrel.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shooting_fish_in_a_barrel

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Go Pound Salt

“Making Heads or Tails of Idioms” Newsletter. Volume 1. Issue 10.

Original Release: 9/23/2011

What was said? Go Pound Salt (aka Go Pound Sand)

Did someone really say that? Yes, in a meeting about a month ago, the client said “if we tell our sales teams that, they’ll tell us to GO POUND SALT!”

What does it mean? Basically another way to say “get lost” or “go away”

Origin:  Apparently, “Go pound salt” is the less vulgar version of “go pound sand”. The origin of the expression “go pound sand” is from a longer expression, “not to know / have enough sense to pound sand down a rat hole.” Since filling rat holes with sand is menial work, telling someone to pound sand down a hole is like telling them to go fly a kite.

The phrase originated in the US and is more common in the Midwest. It dates back to the early 20th century in which a more vulgar version was used in 1969 by Max Yasgur when arguing with local dignitaries over bringing his Woodstock to Bethal, New York, saying: “Well, you can all go pound salt up your a@#, because come Aug 15, we’re going to have a festival!”

Earlier, a less vulgar version appeared in the Southeast Economist, Chicago, 1948: “From her store of memories, Mrs. Mary R. Stuart….recalls that ‘go pound sand in your ears’ meant to soft-pedal the noise”

Sources:

http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/go-pound-sand.html

http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/39/messages/777.html

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=pound%20sand

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