Oh, those wacky clichés and proverbs!

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Happy 4th, everyone! Image courtesy of Anothony Delanoix, unsplash.

I do love me a good cliché or proverb. You can have a lot of fun with them when you really work at it.

Let’s take, for example, the proverb, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Ok, but what happened to the father of invention? Who is he? Poor Invention. Is she doomed to wander the earth forever more, seeking her lost father?

Another good one is “Has the cat got your tongue?” I don’t know about you, but all the adult cats I know aren’t even up to my knees. (And don’t even get me started on kittens!) How is a cat going to reach my tongue, let alone get it?

Then there’s “fit as a fiddle.” Ok, who decided that fiddles are physically fit? I love music (and fiddles), but fiddles have equally wide top and bottom sections. Shouldn’t they be more streamlined, like an Olympic track star?

I took a trip recently and did find out some interesting information about well-known sayings. “Room and board” comes from the fact that an innkeeper would offer you a board to lay on if you stayed overnight. “Upper crust” refers to the fact that the more important members of a household would get the upper, unburned part of a loaf after it was baked in a brick oven.

Ah, well. It’s all part of the wackiness of the English language. Happy 4th, everybody!



Filed under Writing

13 responses to “Oh, those wacky clichés and proverbs!

  1. travelrat

    What gets me is the contradictions proverbs sometimes make. On a calendar I once had, ‘Too many cooks spoil the broth’ was on the next page to ‘Many hands make light work’.

  2. Cliches are so …. clichéd. But they’re fun when we discover the origins of them. I teach my writing students to never use clichés, but then we realized that in dialogue it’s okay, because many people in real life (thus characters in a novel) use clichés frequently to get a point across, even when it doesn’t make sense. Fun stuff.

  3. And the imagination runs wild with words out to play. Love your posts’ romp.
    Hope your life is full of smiles and giggles these days. Happy loooong weekend (and let the traffic begin?Nooooo.)

  4. I enjoy all these sayings as well which is the reason for my monthly Why We Say posts. We do have some strange expressions. Must make learning English challenging.

  5. Here’s another take on room and board. The innkeeper provided a place to sleep (not necessarily a whole room) and food was served on wooden boards. So room and board came to mean a place to sleep and a meal.

  6. Garry’s favorite is “Right as rain.” He wants to know why rain is right. Is snow wrong? What about hail?

    But we love cliches here. A good cliche and you know what you are getting. When they say this show is a cop show and “blood will be shed,” you know exactly what you will see. Cliches make life so nice and simple.

  7. You know … in all these years, I never wondered what happened to Invention’s father. I feel guilty about it. I do. Poor Invention! Half and orphan forever.


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