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Old sayings that we still used today

Add one you know about

"Burning the midnight oil" Well that came from working extra hard or late into the night. In a time before electricity, candlelight or lamp oil was used for lighting. When you stayed up late to work, you literally burned the lamp oil at midnight.

"Jumping on the bandwagon" was common saying in the middle of 1800s, circuses would parade around town before setting up, with bandwagons leading the parade.

They drew large crowds, and politicians started renting space on the bandwagons to get face time with an audience. Over time, politicians would make calls of action not to "jump on the opponent's bandwagon," and the phrase took on a negative connotation, meaning to mindlessly go along with whatever became flashy or popular.

Sounds a lot like today with Trump, Biden and Robert Kennedy running for president

"Dressed to the nines" I myself say dressed to the nines a lot. It means that you were rich enough to literally purchase the entire nine yards it took to make a tailor fit outfit. That includes the vest, jacket, and the whole works.

It's still in use today to mean that someone is dressed in their best.

So what old sayings that you use


I like use Whippersnapper a lot to
"Mad as a hatter."

Lewis Carroll’s 1865 novel “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” famously features an eccentric character called the Hatter, who’s referred to in the story as “mad” and became popularly known as the Mad Hatter.

However, the phrase “mad as a hatter,” which used to describe someone who’s crazy or prone to unpredictable behavior, didn’t originate with Carroll. Instead, the expression is linked to the hat-making industry and mercury poisoning.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, industrial workers used a toxic substance, mercury nitrate, as part of the process of turning the fur of small animals, such as rabbits, into felt for hats. Workplace safety standards often were lax, and prolonged exposure to mercury caused employees to develop a variety of physical and mental ailments, including tremors (dubbed “hatter’s shakes”), speech problems, emotional instability and hallucinations.
“Feeling under the Weather”

Means: Not feeling well

Real meaning: This is another one of those old sayings that come from the sea. Sailors would rest under the bow of a ship if they became seasick during a voyage. This was the best place as it would protect the sailor from bad weather. Those who were ill were described as ‘being under the weather’.


“Sleep Tight”

Means: have a good night’s sleep

Real meaning: this is just one of the many old sayings that derive from Shakespeare’s era. In those days, beds and mattresses were secured with ropes that were pulled tight. This formed a solid base and led to a night of good sleep. Hence – sleep tight.
DrWatson · 70-79, M
We sometimes form metaphors from technology, and then the metaphor persists even when the technology has not.

So for example, "blowing off steam" is what people needed to do periodically to alleviate the pressure building up in a steam engine, to prevent an explosion. And we use it metaphorically to refer to what people do to avoid an explosion.

In fact, I once read that a lot of Freud's terms , like sublimation, were terms associated with the flow of pressure in a steam engine.
HumanEarth · 56-60, F
Like this steam engine tractor of my family that you didn't want to take a guess at

DrWatson · 70-79, M
@HumanEarth Oh, the karma here is overwhelming!
"It's raining cats and dogs."

Hundreds of years ago, in Old England, roofs were made of thatch, which became infested with small vermin - mice, rats, insects. During heavy rains, sometimes these animals would be washed through the roof into the living quarters.

Someone saying, "it's raining cats and dogs," was an indication the downpour was so torrential, cats and dogs could have been washed through the roof.
"Don't look a gift horse in the mouth."

Horses’ teeth change as they age, making it possible to determine their age from their teeth, which also gave rise to the saying “long in the tooth."

This proverb advises us to accept gifts graciously without scrutinizing their value, as doing so implies ingratitude.
Cynthiaa · 41-45, F
How about Hang up the phone
@DrWatson From the days cell phones fit in one’s back pocket and sitting the wrong way could hit the keys and accidentally dial someone.
DrWatson · 70-79, M
@bijouxbroussard Yes, but our butts aren't 'dialing". Maybe "butt tapping", "butt key pressing", but not dialing. There's no dial anymore.
@DrWatson Nonetheless, that’s its origin.
Pinkstarburst · 51-55, F
My two favorites…

Full as a tick

Madder than a wet hen
Goodbye (short for God be with ye)
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HumanEarth · 56-60, F
Did not, but I like your new terminology for though

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