Wednesday, January 13, 2016

{ Wednesday's Word - Sayings }

Do you all love old sayings as much as me? Since I used one Monday and Tuesday, why not just continue today? Here's a few I found and some of them have some really weird, or funny origins!!

bite the bullet
Meaning: Accepting something difficult or unpleasant

Origin: There was no time to administer anesthesia before emergency surgery during battle. The surgeon made patients bite down on a bullet in an attempt to distract them from the pain.

break the ice
Meaning: To commence a project or initiate a friendship

Origin: Before the days of trains or cars, port cities that thrived on trade suffered during the winter because frozen rivers prevented commercial ships from entering the city. Small ships known as “icebreakers” would rescue the icebound ships by breaking the ice and creating a path for them to follow. Before any type of business arrangement today, it is now customary “break the ice” before beginning a project.

butter up someone
Meaning: To flatter someone

Origin: An ancient Indian custom involved throwing balls of clarified butter at statues of the gods to seek favor.

go cold turkey
Meaning: To quit something abruptly

Origin: People believed that during withdrawal, the skin of drug addicts became translucent, hard to the touch, and covered with goose bumps – like the skin of a plucked turkey.

saved by the bell
Meaning: Rescued from an unwanted situation

Origin: As scary as it sounds, being buried alive was once a common occurrence. People who feared succumbing to such a fate were buried in special coffins that connected to a bell above ground. At night, guards listened for any bells in case they had to dig up a living person and save them “by the bell.”

spill the beans
Meaning: To reveal a secret

Origin: In Ancient Greece, beans were used to vote for candidates entering various organizations. One container for each candidate was set out before the group members, who would place a white bean in the container if they approved of the candidate and a black bean if they did not. Sometimes a clumsy voter would accidentally knock over the jar, revealing all of the beans and allowing everyone to see the otherwise confidential votes.

going to hell in a handbasket
It isn't at all obvious why 'handbasket' was chosen as the preferred vehicle to convey people to hell. One theory on the origin of the phrase is that derives from the use of handbaskets in the guillotining method of capital punishment.

And, you can click here for a whole bunch of others.

I'd love for you to share some of your favorites.

HOPE everybody has a great Wednesday.

Stay warm and safe!


  1. Hi Debbie, very interesting word/phrase origins. I use several of them but never knew the origins. I find we have so many peculiar phrases in the English language. I never realized just how many I use until I realized when communicating with foreigners that they would likely have no idea what these meant, lol. Have yourself a lovely rest of your week!

  2. This was such a fun post. I've been known to say a few of those old sayings myself and I enjoyed reading how they all came about. I hope you have a lovely rest of the week, Deb... :)

  3. That was so much fun, Deb. "Butter Up"---cracked me up as I use that all the time...have a beautiful day, friend.

  4. I've said so many of these myself and still do. Love reading where they originated from. Thanks for sharing friend. Stay warm. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

  5. Hi, Deb. This may be a duplicate comment. Blogger is giving me fits this morning. A very interesting post. My first husband was in the Coast Guard and was on an ice breaker for awhile. Have a great day!

  6. Hi Deb! That 'saved by the bell' one made me shiver! Yikes. And like Linda, the 'butter up' one is pretty unusual, it did make me smile!
    Thanks for that smile on such a cold day :)

  7. It sure is fun to learn new things, even when they seem kind of silly!! I LOVE this post and did know about a couple of them, but learned a few new ones to file away for future reference! I don't really have a favorite - it would depend on the situation and if it made me laugh! Thanks for the fun!!

  8. How interesting and what fun to read and know about the sayings we all use from time to time. Thanks for your post today.

  9. What a fun post. 'Saved by the bell' was really creepy! Enjoyed reading all of them, I did know the about 'bite the bullet.' Hope you've had a great day. ((hugs))


Kind words are like honey—
sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.
Proverbs 16:24