Recently read a post by Calvin Trillin in the New York Times, When ‘All Thumbs’ Becomes a Compliment,thanks to a mention in Ronni Bennett’s blog Time Goes By.He was referring to the common idiom about someone being ‘all thumbs’ or clumsy with hands and that it may no longer apply in current times as when he was “watching a teenager text” with their thumbs at lightening speed on the subway. This got me thinking about common expressions and idioms, that I still use all the time, and how they fit or not with modern times. Here goes:
“Hold your horses” meaning slow down,wait. ( used to refer to reigning in a horse or team of horses). I once said this to my daughter when she was little and she replied, ” I don’t have any horses!!”
“Spill the beans” (reveal a secret, sometimes prematurely).
“Mull it over” (ponder, think carefully about).
These next two may require prior knowledge of poultry farming:
” Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” ( don’t put all you resources into one thing) I usually use this to mean don’t put all your hopes on one venture, try, or possibility.
“Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched” ( Don’t assume something that has not happened yet)
“Don’t sell yourself short” ( Don’t underestimate yourself. Probably used to refer to the selling stock for less than what it would be worth in the long run.)
“Go the extra mile” ( Going above and beyond to make an effort to do something. May go out of style if we all go to metric system)
“Won’t give an inch” ( stubborn, unwilling to compromise) This is similar to “Stick To Your Guns”
” Not playing with a full deck” ( Cognitively impaired, not functioning well. Like playing cards without a full deck of cards)
“Lose Your Marbles” ( mentally impaired, lose your wits)
“Sharp as a tack” (very intelligent, bright. Used to refer to sharp cutting edge. A tack is a small sharp pointed nail.
” Hit the nail on the head” (precisely, correct) Like hitting a nail head with a hammer.
“In a nutshell” ( concisely, in summary) “alludes to the Roman writer Pliny’s description of Homer’s Iliad being copied in so tiny a hand that it could fit in a nutshell,” Idioms by The Free Dictionary.
“Close, but no cigar” ( almost the right answer or close to winning, but not quite) may be referring to old time carnival game stalls where the prize was a cigar.
Do you have any favorites? Do they still work today?
Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted by Linda G Hill. Today’s prompt is to look to the publication (book, newspaper, permission slip from your kid’s teacher, whatever you find) closest to you, and base your post on the sixth, seventh, and eighth word from the beginning of the page.
Featured image of ‘Young people texting’ by Tomwsulcer via wikimedia.org, homer simpson moe GIF via giphy.com, ‘Ponder’ image via Hobvias Sudonelghm on Flickr.com, Chicks and Nut images via Pixabay.com