Idioms And Their Origins Pdf

idioms and their origins pdf

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It is one of the essential and highest-scoring topics which you can easily face in the banking exam. Example: Sullivan is a closed book.

She grew up with her nose stuck in a book almost every day. An idiom is a word or, more commonly, a phrase in which the figurative meaning is different than the literal meaning of the grouping of words. There are approximately 25, idioms in the English language alone. For example, there is a common saying in English. You've probably heard it.

PDF Dictionary of Idioms and Their Origins Download Full Ebook

She grew up with her nose stuck in a book almost every day. An idiom is a word or, more commonly, a phrase in which the figurative meaning is different than the literal meaning of the grouping of words. There are approximately 25, idioms in the English language alone. For example, there is a common saying in English. You've probably heard it.

If I were to say, "Fred kicked the bucket," what would you think? Now, you could take this literally, in that Fred actually walked up to and kicked a bucket in his path.

However, those familiar with the English language would not take this sentence literally, knowing that this is a common saying or idiom that conveys a different meaning implying that a person has died. This idiom has a rather dark origin. It came from a reference to someone hanging himself by standing on a bucket and then kicking it away, thus "kicking the bucket.

It is interesting to note that while there are different idioms for each individual language, many languages have equivalent idioms found in their respective languages. For instance, the phrase "kick the bucket" in English which implies, as we've discussed, that someone has died, can be translated into a phrase that means the equivalent in Ukranian, "to cut the oak" as in, building a coffin ; in German, "to look at the radishes from underneath;" or in Swedish, "to take the sign down," and so on.

Most of us use idioms every day and yet many of us don't know how these same phrases originated. It's very interesting to learn the origins behind the phrases and how they came into existence. As you learn about idioms, you also learn about history, geography and culture. Idioms are usually derived from local culture and customs in each individual language.

So, lets explore some common idioms and phrases and take a look at the meanings and origins behind them. As an idiom, a loophole is defined as a way of getting out of something or escaping a difficulty, especially finding a legal technicality that allows someone to evade compliance. A loophole, in the middle ages, was a small slit-like opening in a castle wall that men would fire their bows or musketeers through. The only openings in a seemingly impenetrable wall were these slits which a child or small adult could squeeze through.

Thus, a loophole is a small opening, or "out," in a seemingly airtight law, which only the clever few can use. This is a very common idiom. We use the term " red tape " to denote anything that may delay or hold us up, whatever the process may be.

It also refers to a lot of unnecessary bureaucracy or paperwork. This term originated from the fact that legal and official documents were tied up or bound with red tape since the 16th century. By doing so, it was often difficult to access them. Hence, the term "red tape. How many times have we heard someone shout, "Break a leg! This is a phrase that seems to be counter intuitive. Certainly, you don't want someone to actually break their leg onstage. Where did such a saying come into existence?

Eric Partridge in his Dictionary of Catchphrases suggests that the term originated as a translation of a similar expression used by German actors: Hals- und Beinbruch literally, "a broken neck and a broken leg. Why would people twist a wish for dreadful injury into one for good luck? It is suggested that it is a reverse psychology of sorts. Popular folklore down through the ages has been full of warnings against wishing your friends good luck.

To do so is was thought superstitiously to tempt evil spirits or demons to do your friend harm. Instead, they would wish their friend bad fortune. There is also evidence that some have pointed to the stage directions for the opening night of the reconstructed Globe Theater in London which supposedly called for two actors to swing dramatically from a balcony down to the stage on ropes.

One of the actors slipped and, you guessed it, broke his leg. We've all heard this one. That's a piece of cake! We can do it with our eyes closed. Where did this idiom originate? The first reference to this was in the s, when American poet Ogden Nash, who wrote Primrose Path , was quoted as saying, "Life's a piece of cake. This must sound like a very odd expression to someone just hearing it for the first time. There are a lot of things we have seen falling from the sky, but cats and dogs aren't one of them.

One has to wonder, how did this expression come about? It's quite simple, really. It originated in England in the 's, when houses had thatched roofs.

A thatch roof consisted of straw piled high, with no wood underneath. In cold, foggy England this was sometimes the only place for an animal to get warm. Cats, other small animals and the occasional dog would wind up on the roofs. When it rained really hard, some of the animals would slip off the roof and wash up in the gutters on the street.

Hence, the saying, "It's raining cats and dogs" ended up referring to a particularly heavy rain. Kind of gruesome, isn't it? Has someone ever informed you that they are working the graveyard shift? Perhaps you have also heard someone refer to a person as a dead ringer? What about when you hear someone say, "Ahhh, saved by the bell! These phrases have a very creepy origin, indeed! For this, too, we go back to England.

If you look at a map, you'll see that England is rather small. Therefore, they started running out of places to bury people. What they did in order to solve this problem was to dig up the existing coffins out of the ground and take the bones to a bone house.

They would then reuse the grave. Sounds like a simple enough solution. However, this practice turned up a very eerie and creepy discovery. An average of about one in twenty five coffins that were dug up to be reused were found with horrific scratch marks on the inside, indicating that somehow people were being buried alive!

This obviously was an unsettling find. In order to avoid this happening in the future, they started placing a string on the wrist of the corpse before it went into the coffin.

This string would lead through the coffin, and up through the ground and was tied to a bell on the ground. This way, it was thought, if a corpse was indeed not a corpse and still alive, they could ring the bell or be a dead ringer and have a chance to be dug up if they were still alive, and thus, saved by the bell.

Someone would have to sit outside all night working the graveyard shift and listen for these bells. In fact, there was so much hype about this for awhile that there were quite an array of devices invented so that the undead could escape their coffins in case they buried prematurely. Some of them were rather simple with spring loaded coffin lids that would open at the slightest movement inside. Others were much more complex in nature even using electrical switches, early dry cells and buzzers.

For clarification purposes, there has been no actual documented case of any person ringing the bell and thus being saved. It must also be pointed out that this explanation is a bit of a controversy. Some disclaim this theory, saying that while the practice of reusing existing coffins did exist, it was a lot less common than reported.

It has been said that the term "graveyard shift" simply came from nautical origins when a person had the night shift on a vessel at sea and that the shift was named such for the extreme quietness and loneliness of the shift.

It has also been reported that the term ringer simply refers to an old devious practice regarding horse racing and betting in which a proven racehorse similar in looks was switched out for an old nag with a bad record in a race securing a long shot bet.

A dead ringer referred to an animal that you could not tell apart from the original without closer inspection. Whatever the case, it is certainly interesting to ponder over. The truth most likely lies somewhere in between, as is the case most of the time. It is interesting to note that, regarding the origins of "dead ringer," between and there was a lot of time and effort put into patenting designs for escape mechanisms built within coffins.

Whether this was due more to superstitions or because of actual evidence of people being buried alive, we will probably never know. Maybe all these theories are true, to one degree or another. As is the case with language in general, perhaps these stories, too, change and evolve over time, encompassing more than one meaning or origin. This is what makes etymology, the study of the history and origin of words along with tracing their developments and meanings, so interesting.

This is a phrase we hear a lot when adults are speaking to children. This is a term that has come to signify that you are taking care, watching what you are doing, getting it right.

The origins on this idiom are actually rather simple. This one dates back to a time when local taverns, pubs and bars served up their patrons drinks by the quart and by the pint. Bar maids had to keep an eye on the customers and keep the drinks coming. They had to pay special attention to who was drinking pints and who was drinking quarts, thus the term came to be known, "minding your p's and q's.

This is a common phrase that means simply it's going to cost to the point of sacrifice. It's going to hurt. The price is high. If we step back in time to George Washington's day, we would not see any cameras. For a portrait to be produced, it had to be painted or sculpted.

Idioms Books

Phone or email. Don't remember me. Mothukuri Rao. Dictionary of Idioms and Their Origins The English language contains a vast store of idioms that can be used in creative and forceful ways. This totally revised and greatly expanded edition of Dictionary of Idioms examines over such phrases, tracing each one's source and history through a rich supply of examples. New entries include 'playing fast and loose' from a 16th-century fairground game , 'head over heels' a totally illogical variation on the more sensible 'heels over head' and 'knee-high to a grasshopper' which won out over knee-high to a mosquito and knee-high to a toad. Mini-essays scattered through the book enable the authors to expand on such broader themes as: What is an Idiom?


As idioms are by definition phrases and not single words, there is necessarily a choice to be made of which word to classify the phrase by.


PDF Dictionary of Idioms and Their Origins Download Full Ebook

If I may be accused o f encouraging or inventing a new vice - the mania, or idiomania, I may perhaps call it - o f collecting what Pater calls the gypsy phrases o f our language, I have at least been punished by becom ing one o f its most careless and incorrigible victims. Logan Pearsall Smith, Words and Idioms, Our belief is that people turn to a book on idioms for two main purposes: for reference and to browse.

As native speakers, we use them without even thinking about where they come from; but to a student trying to learn English, they can be deeply confusing. Knowing a bit about the origins of these sayings is helpful in cementing these language nuggets in the mind. Meaning: Playing something by ear means that rather than sticking to a defined plan, you will see how things go and decide on a course of action as you go along.

Read a book becomes a choice of your different characteristics. The lesson is to help you understand the meanings when you read about them or hear them. Yeah, even many books are offered, this book can steal the reader heart so much. Finding this dictionary of idioms and their origins as the right book really makes you feel relieved.

20 English Idioms with their Meanings and Origins

An idiom is a phrase that is common to a certain population.

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