Six Random Phrases and Where They Came From
I know I’m a huge nerd, but I find these types of things interesting!
Buzzfeed posted a list of sayings people use on a daily basis, even though most of us have no idea where they came from. And some of the original meanings might surprise you. Here are the top six.
1. Beating Around the Bush. In hunting, it’s sometimes necessary to beat or stomp on the underbrush to scare the animals out.
And the term originally described an UNWILLING hunter who would “beat around the bush,” but not actually kill anything.
2. Going Balls to the Wall. Which means you’re pushing yourself to the limit. And no, it’s not a “dirty” saying. It’s an old term they used in aviation.
The top of the levers that controlled the throttle and fuel mixtures were both shaped like a ball. And if you pushed both of those forward, toward the front wall of the cockpit, it made the plane go faster.
3. Biting the Bullet. Which means to face up to something. But before anesthetics were around, injured soldiers would LITERALLY bite down on a bullet to help get through the pain of an amputation.
4. Getting Someone’s Goat. It means you’re intentionally trying to irritate someone, but it’s originally a horseracing term. Nervous horses sometimes calm down if you put a goat in their stall with them.
But sometimes rival owners would steal the goat, so the horse would freak out overnight and lose the race.
5. Making the Grade. It actually doesn’t have anything to do with school. It’s an old 19th century railroad term, and “grade” is short for “gradient” . . . which means an incline.
Engineers had to make sure trains wouldn’t encounter any inclines that were too steep. And if you “made the grade,” you were within the safety limits.
6. Passing the Buck. In this case, “buck” doesn’t mean currency. The phrase comes from an old English card game, where a “jackknife” or “buck” was passed from player to player to indicate whose turn it was.
Want to see the entire list? Click here!