Saturday, July 26, 2008

Origin of Sayings

I recently published an article titled Very Interesting Stuff that gave a brief and interesting history of the origin of certain sayings and names. It prompted a reply from my friend Dave Beatty from Livingston, Louisiana. Here is some more interesting stuff that he has uncovered:

Beatty’s More Origins

I read on you blog the origin of some commonly use phrases and thought you might like to ‘learn’ about some more. I say learn because with all of the internet sites, anyone can go to them and learn the origin of almost any saying. The sayings listed below are the ones I remember and learned in my many travels and did not ‘learn’ by just going to some web site. I think this is the way sayings should be passed on thought time, and not from web site to web site. I hope you enjoy and you might just learn one or two new ones.

“So cold that it will freeze the balls off a brass monkey“

As the story goes, in old sailing days, war ships would stack the iron cannon balls in a pyramid held at the base by a ring. This ring was/is made of brass and called a monkey. As it got colder, the brass would contract more than the iron balls did and the pyramid of cannon balls would fall ‘off the brass monkey”.

At a dinner party someone says “A toast” to or for whatever, and every one will lift their glass and touch them together with each other glass at the table.

As the story goes, in the old days the preferred method of killing your enemies was to invite them to a dinner party and poison them. To make sure that no one was being poisoned, it became the practice to have everyone at the table to pour a little wine from their glass into each and every one else’s glass. Therefore everyone was drinking the same wine.

The military salute:

This practice is reported to be based on the practice of knights of old raising their face shield to show their face as they approach each other on the road. As to say, look at my face, I’m a friend.

There are several more that I have learned over the years but they will come later, when I can remember them.

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