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Friday, September 25, 2009

Idioms for Dummies










According to Wikipedia,
"An idiom is a phrase whose meaning cannot be determined by the literal definition of the phrase itself, but refers instead to a figurative meaning that is known only through common use."


In one of my previous jobs I was a sign language interpreter. I went to school for five years - two years just to learn the language, and three years in an interpreting program. One of the topics we studied were idioms. They were the bane of our existence. In American Sign Language, you are interpreting what you are hearing. But that would not be the case if you heard an idiom. So if the person says, for instance, "It's raining cats and dogs," you would not sign rain + cat + dog. It just wouldn't make sense to the deaf person. There is a sign for rain, and a gesture that goes with it to show that it is raining hard. But that means that the interpreter had to of understood the idiom to begin with and figured out what to sign, all in a matter of seconds. Yeah. Now you see my point. Luckily I didn't come across too many idioms because I was an interpreter in a school setting, and for that I was grateful.

Anyhow, this started me thinking about idioms, and how often we use them in our daily conversations. I looked up idioms, and came across many that were silly or that I've never heard of before. You might enjoy these.


Use Your Loaf:

Use your head. Think smart.

I don't think this is the same as being called a 'dough-head'.



A slice off a cut loaf is never missed



Used colloquially to describe having sexual intercourse with someone who is not a virgin, especially when they are in a relationship. The analogy refers to a loaf of bread; it is not readily apparent, once the end has been removed, exactly how many slices have been taken.('You never miss a slice from a cut loaf' is also used.)

Is this saying that it's okay if I sleep around?


Can't dance and it's too wet to plow

When you can't dance and it's too wet to plow, you may as well do something because you can't or don't have the opportunity to do anything else.

I like this one. I just hope I can remember it.


Fur coat and no knickers

Someone with airs and graces, but no real class is fur coat and no knickers.

This just reminds me of those scenes where the woman shows up at her husband's office wearing a fur coat and nothing else underneath. Am I wrong?


Keep your pecker up

If someone tells you to keep your pecker up, they are telling you not to let your problems get on top of you and to try to be optimistic.

To me, if you tell someone to 'keep your pecker up' that mean you want THEM to get on top of you, not THEM to get on top of their PROBLEMS. Again I ask, am I wrong?


Screw your courage to the sticking place

Meaning - Be firm and resolute.Origin - This line is from Shakespeare's Macbeth, 1605: Lady Macbeth: 'We fail! But screw your courage to the sticking-place, and we'll not fail.'

I just love this one. Now I just have to find my sticking place.

Juggle frogs

If you are juggling frogs, you are trying to do something very difficult.

No shit, Sherlock, I can't even juggle BALLS, let alone slimy frogs! Give me a break!


One swallow does not make a summer

This means that one good or positive event does not mean that everything is all right.

This sounds like a word of advice I might have gotten from an old boyfriend.


Teach your grandmother to suck eggs

When people say 'don't teach your grandmother to suck eggs', they mean that people shouldn't try to teach someone who has experience or is an expert in that area.

Okay folks, this is an image I have to poke out of my mind's eye. Wait, wait, done.


Tell them where the dog died

If you tell them where the dog died, you strongly and sharply correct someone.

It's nobody's damn business where I buried Fido!


Know your onions

If someone is very well-informed about something, they know their onions.

Vidalia, yellow,green, and white. Plus people KNOW when you know your onions. They can SMELL you a mile away.


Lord love a duck

An exclamation used when nothing else will fit. Often fitting when one is stunned or dismayed.

Uh, this sounds a little too much like bestiality to me.

I had a friend who was from the south that used this expression a lot. Before that, I had never heard it before. Then I met another woman who would say something similar to this. But she thought the expression was, "Lord LOVERDUCK!"



Every ass likes to hear himself bray.

This means that people like the sound of their own voice.

Oh! I thought this had something to do with passing gas. Never mind.


Yah boo sucks

Yah boo & yah boo sucks can be used to show that you have no sympathy with someone.

So remember this one folks, when someone is whining to you. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yah boo sucks. Don't 'cha just love it?


Zigged before you zagged

If you did things in the wrong order, you zigged before you zagged.

Who knew? I've been zigging before I zagged all my life. Geesh.


Decorate the mahogany

When someone buys a round at a pub or bar, they decorate the mahogany; putting cash on the bar.

You can decorate the mahogany, the kitchen table, the living room furniture, anywhere in my house, er, trailer, I don't care. I like the color GREEN.


What can you expect from a hog but a grunt?


This means that you can't expect people to behave in a way that is not in their character- a 'hog' is a 'pig', so an unrefined person can't be expected to behave in a refined way.

I don't know about you, but I thought pigs snorted.


So you have me to thank for enlightening you to these wonderful and wacky idioms.

Your welcome.

And I have these two websites to thank for helping me find them.


Usingenglish.com

and

Idiomsite.com

7 comments:

Rae said...

It is interesting learning about your previous job. Do you still still interpret for anyone? The idioms are very funny. Just goes to show how odd the English language can be.

Mrs.C said...

these are great! How about - if you do *fill in the blank*, I'll dance at your weddin in a hog trough.

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

So many of these are new to me - maybe even if you speak English it depends on where you come from . . . good thing you gave the official meaning before you threw in your own - or I might have believed you! Now if you keep your pecker up, maybe you would be able to juggle your balls! Excuse me folks - but I could not resist.

Kathy's Klothesline said...

"Keep your pecker up"...... never heard that one as an idiom, but if you say so...... Next time the husband is having a bad day, I am going to tell him to keep his pecker up....... can't wait to see his face as I will no doubt do this in the presence of others.

Naqvee said...

every ass likes to hear himself bray. its soo true~
thanks for making us learn some idioms , have a haPPy Saturday
love Naqvee
faheimgul. blogspot.com

otin said...

"One swallow does not make a summer

This sounds like a word of advice I might have gotten from an old boyfriend."

I will probably laugh at this all day!

SquirrelQueen said...

I was raised in the South so you would think I would have heard a few of these, but "Lord love a duck" is the only one I know. My idiom education is lacking I suppose.

I with Otin, I'm going to be laughing about that one for awhile.