Idioms and Their Origins

Have you ever wondered about the origins of some expressions or idioms?

I had a great day. I was energetic and got so much done. I felt really good. I definitely got up on the right side of the bed!

Then my wheels began turning. The idiom, get up on the wrong side of the bed and its origins. Naturally I had to look it up. Well, this led to me researching a lot of idioms! Very interesting I must say!

Get up on the wrong side of the bed

Origin: Dates back to Roman times. It was considered bad luck to get out of bed on the left-hand side. They believed to do so meant you would have a very bad day.

Cat got your tongue?

Origin: The flogging whip used by the English Navy was called “Cat-o-nine-tails”. They say that the pain from the lashes was so great, it left its victims unable to speak for a very long time.

There is another possible source that dates back to ancient Egypt.  Liars and blasphemers’ tongues were cut out and fed to the kitty cats.

Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water

Origin:  In the early 1500s, people did not bath all that often. They might have bathed one time a year. YUCK!!!!! You haven’t heard the worst of it. They shared bath water. The adult males would bath first, followed by adult females, then young children and babies last. The water by the time it was the baby’s turn, was filthy. Mothers had to be careful to not lose their babies in the cloudy bath water.

Bite the bullet

Origin:  When doctors were low on anesthesia like during times of war, they would give the patient a bullet to bite down on to distract from the pain.

Caught red-handed

Origin:  Originated from old English law. The law ordered any person that butchered another’s animal to be punished. However, the only way to convict was if the individual was caught with the animal’s blood on their hands.

Let one’s hair down

Origin:  Aristocratic women in medieval times could not be seen in public with their hair down. They were obliged to appear with only the most elegant hair-dos which meant usually pulled up. It was only at home, they could “let their hair down”.




19 thoughts on “Idioms and Their Origins”

  1. Like I said always think outside the box Laura

    The cat of nine tail actually originates back to Time BC where Roman’s would flogged prisoners the device was made of shards of glass and bone !!!!

    Bite the bullet I use that one quite a bit same with Cat got your tongue

    I sent you message on FB



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