After writing about the term bohemian recently, I realisd that there are a few other cases in English of adjectives relating to certain regions having a particular meaning. Continue reading
Look, I know this is being published on a Thursday, but in my defence I’m writing this on a Wednesday and the idea came to me this afternoon.
A Dark Horse
He’s a dark horse, isn’t he?
How would you describe the expression a dark horse to somebody who’d never heard it before? After thinking for a moment, you might say it’s a person of hidden depths or secret talents/opinions, someone who achieves something when no-one expected that they might. You might give an example of a quiet student in a language class who suddenly speaks confidently and fluently in an oral exam.
Riding the Gravy Train
Did you ever wonder where this odd expression comes from? Why would gravy be associated with having an easy time of it? And where does the train fit into it?
We’d sit here and make up great tall tales. – Bobby Briggs
An exaggerated anecdote, or even an outright lie, can be called a tall tale. Where does this phrase come from?
Come in out of the Rain
Earlier this evening, while WhatsApping with my friend about staying in or going out, I tapped out the following phrase: best to stay in out of the rain (we’re staying in). I didn’t think anything about it, until I happened to glance at it as I was putting my phone down. My eye zoomed in on the middle, specifically on these two words: …in out…. Hang on a second, I said, that can’t be!
The stars have always been important to us. When our first ancestors first noticed that those strange lights in the sky moved gradually over time, they tried to find explanations for this phenomenon. Perhaps these movements were linked to seasonal changes, and unpredictable, calamitous events. Perhaps they were gods, or great creatures like bears and crabs, manipulating events here on Earth. Continue reading