The colorful world of old sayings


OPINION: I was trying to explain to a puzzled youngster the meaning of the phrase “drop someone’s block”.

Her neighbor, who is obviously a nice old duck and wouldn’t hurt a fly, continues to use it, and she wanted to know what that meant.

The block, I explained, was a head or “swede” like in a root vegetable, and dropping a block probably comes from a boxing term, like knocking someone out.

Most likely, the term could well have come from the time of Henry VIII and the king’s penchant for bringing down the blocks of his hapless wives.

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Moving on to the art form of cubism, because I know my friend loves art, I said that a head depicted as a block shape is written roughly in cubism where works of art and humans are represented in cubes.

Warming up on the theme, I took it a step further and brought up another boring term, namely the phrase “swinging” for someone, like waving your arm like a “rock maker.” hay ”(another boxing term) swinging their arm in the general direction of the person they wish to approach. Not that we wanted to assault anyone, I added hastily.

This expression led me to another colorful saying – the very popular threat to “tan a hide” when I was at knee height in front of a grasshopper and mom had a strap permanently lodged behind the bathroom mirror to help. to shape his recalcitrant offspring.

Another colorful expression is

Richard Heathcote / Getty Images

Another colorful expression is “swinging” for someone, like waving their arm like a “haymaker” (another boxing term) swinging their arm in the general direction of the person they want. tackle, writes Jane Bowron.

Don’t worry i won’t do one Angela’s Ashes and indulging in revelations of a difficult childhood full of deprivation and intergenerational dusting, but I remember having the audacity to ask in the midst of a relentless pursuit, what tanning a hide really meant. It took her sails breathless as I tried to chock before the leather slammed on my legs. By then, I had already understood the basics.

This is what I miss in the old sayings, which get you the gist of it because they are so colorful. Conversations used to trill with them long before the arrival of the boring old emoji to help express what cannot be conveyed in the limited subgenre of the text.

One of my favorite expressions, which regularly came out of my grandfather’s mouth or his “cake hole”, was dismissive “I wouldn’t spit on him for practice”. This choice line was usually followed by the scathing criticism that came with the delayed punchline – “There’s nothing wrong with him … a good undertaker doesn’t fix”.

Jane Bowron: “The block, I explained, was a head or 'swede' like in a root vegetable, and dropping a block probably comes from a boxing term, like knocking someone out.

Kevin’s Stent / Stuff

Jane Bowron: “The block, I explained, was a head or ‘swede’ like in a root vegetable, and dropping a block probably comes from a boxing term, like knocking someone out. “

As a grandfather would have said, spitting on someone for an army spinoff practice where you spat on another soldier’s food in a vulgar take-over bid to acquire their tucker.

Then there was the spinning stomach, because it reminds me of Rembrandt’s painting showing an anatomy lesson. Threat “I’ll have your guts for the garters.” It made me thankful that my socks were held up with old boring gray regulation elastic bands rather than bloody red gut guts.

Best to end on a positive line with my favorite saying, which is to compliment someone that their “blood is worth bottling”.

In a somewhat vampiric tone, the saying could be taken the wrong way and interpreted as a threat to, against a person’s will, open their veins and empty them of their vital mess. But it also casts the healthy image of the triumph of bottling the old-fashioned Agee jars, all sealed and proudly lined up on the pantry shelf chock full of homemade tomato soup. Yum yum.


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