Idioms, Phrases, and Acronyms of the English Language

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Huntn, May 13, 2018.

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  1. Huntn, May 13, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2018

    Huntn macrumors P6

    Huntn

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    #1
    If you post your favorite and their original meaning. I’ll list them. Used cold turkey this morning in a post and was thinking, what does that mean exactly? If I don’t get yours into the list in post 1 or I post something incorrect, please give a shout, public or private. :)

    Update
    • Parentheses and number refers to the post number where it was mentioned.
    • 9Jun- Added Put out to Pasture (#36), Get a Taste of their own medicine (#36), perfect storm (#36), Wild goose chase (#36), That Ship has sailed (#36), Pee in your Cheerios (#37), Happy as a Clam (#39), Jonesing For something (#40), No Problem (#44), Dryer than a popcorn fart (#47).
    • 8Jun- Added sick (#35), Bless Your Heart (#36), The Whole Nine Yards (#36), Since Moses wore short pants (#36)
    • 3Jun- Added Your mother's a whore (#31), wet (#33)
    • 26May- Added Handbags at dawn (#24), Read the Riot Act (#25), Yuppie (#28), Six Ways From Sunday (#30)
    • 20 May- Added two idioms with the word Gauntlet used (#18), SNAFU (#23), FUBAR, Wigs on the Green (#21)
    • 19May- Added gone dooally (no.17)
    • 13 May- Added as all get out, toot sweet, over the top, Dekko- Have a Dekko, Knock you up.

    Links

    Defintion:
    id·i·om, ˈidēəm/, noun
    1.a group of words established by usage as having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words (e.g., rain cats and dogs, see the light ).
    • As all get out- (Sandbox General #2)
      https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=as all get out
      to describe something in absolute relativity to its spectrum of reality
      This place is cool as all get out. This food is gross as all get out. She is lookin' hot as all get out. He is sharp as all get out tonight!
      #totally#completely#entirely#wholly#absolutely
    • Bless Your Heart (AustinIllini #36)- Depending on usage, has a range of meaning from a snide comment, to a genuine compliment for a variety of reasons. See this Quora link: https://www.quora.com/Is-Bless-your...-be-said-and-received-as-a-face-value-comment
    • Bohica!- (Huntn #27) https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_military_slang_terms. From the US Navy, but don’t know how widespread that is. :) This link says armed forces from Vietnam era and I servered under Vietnam Viets so... Bend over, here it comes again, a term with an obvious sexual reference, which men seem to like (the reference :p) but having to do with facing some kind of adversity or unpleasantness, situational or put on the individual by authority, such as Bohica, we are being deployed again!
    • Cold Turkey- Without preparation. First used in correlation with withdrawl from an addictive substance in the 1920s with regards to heroin addiction. The idea being that "cold turkey" is a food that requires little to no preparation to eat - hence doing something "cold turkey" means the action will be done without preparation & immediately. Also connected to the notion that the symptoms of withdrawl from many substances include cold sweats (moisture), and sallow skin - much like that of a cold, dead, turkey. https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Cold Turkey
    • Dekko (Have a Dekko, Take a Dekko)- (MobileHaathi #5)
      Late 19th century (originally used by the British army in India): from Hindi dekho ‘look!’, imperative of dekhnā. https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/dekko. Another link says the phrase migrated back to England with soldiers on leave.
    • Dryer than a popcorn fart (Barley #47)- It's dry or it's hot. Origin uncertain: https://definithing.com/popcorn-fart/
    • FUBAR- https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_military_slang_terms. Fouled up beyond all recognition. Sometimes used with different F word. :)
    • Get a taste of their own medicine (AustinIllini #36)- Get treated the way you've been treating others (negative)https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/give+a+taste+of+own+medicine
    • Gone dooally (Jeremy H #17) https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/doolally Early 20th century: originally doolally tap, Indian army slang, from Deolali (the name of a town with a military sanatorium and a transit camp) + Urdu tap ‘fever’.
    • Gauntlet- Thow down the Guantlet: (Scepticalscribe #18) lhttps://www.history.com/news/what-does-it-mean-to-throw-down-the-gauntlet. Today the phrase “throw down the gauntlet” means to challenge or confront someone, but in its earliest use it wasn’t meant as a metaphor, but was a physical action intended to issue a formal challenge to a duel. The word itself comes from the French word “gantelet,” and referred to the heavy, armored gloves worn by medieval knights. In an age when chivalry and personal honor were paramount, throwing a gauntlet at the feet of an enemy or opponent was considered a grave insult that could only be answered with personal combat, and the offended party was expected to “take up the gauntlet” to acknowledge and accept the challenge.
    • Gauntlet- Run the Gauntlet: A similar-sounding phrase, “to run the gauntlet,” has a completely different origin, deriving from the Swedish word “gatlopp” and Old English “gantlope,” meaning lane course or passageway. This gauntlet referred to a military punishment in which a prisoner was forced to run or walk between two columns of troops as they struck him with clubs, heavy ropes, whips or leather straps.
    • Handbags at Dawn (Arkitect #24) A catty fight. Derives from the more traditional "pistols at dawn", but with the selection of weapon implying that the participants are of the weaker sex. Works especially well if they're actually male. https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Handbags at dawn
    • Happy as a Clam (A.Goldberg #39)
      Very happy. An abbreviation of the expression “happy as a clam at high tide”. Clams of course would be happy if they could be happy at high tide as they’d be covered with water. https://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/as-happy-as-a-clam.html
    • Jonesing for something (Mefisto #40) "[to be] jonesing for [something]", often used when referring to drugs, but can be used to refer to pretty much any craving. I'd heard it a million times, but just recently learned that it refers to a certain "Great Jones Street" in Manhattan, apparently at some point in time known for drug related activities. http://mentalfloss.com/article/49625/how-did-jones-come-mean-craving
      The New Oxford American Dictionary has “Origin 1960’s: said to come from Jones Alley, in Manhattan, associated with drug addicts.”
      https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/17601/where-did-im-jonesing-get-its-meaning-from
    • Knock you up- (JBarley #13)
      https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/knock+you+up 1. rude slang To impregnate someone. A noun or pronoun can be used between "knock" and"up." I really hope I didn't knock her up—I'm not ready to be a dad. 2. To awaken or call for someone by knocking at their door. A noun or pronoun can be used between "knock" and "up." Primarily heard in the UK. I can knock you up when my alarm goes.
    • No Problem (Huntn #44)- An overused phrase, often incorrectly used in the service industry. A cliche that has become a common reply for many interactions where a customer is ordering an item off a menu, where a better response is to reply in a positive manner such as "my pleasure to sever you" or "my pleasure". The correct usage is when a circumstance puts the person using this phase, in essence to be inconvenienced, but to signal they are ok with the situation. Example: I accidentally spilled my water all over the floor. Response: No problem (we'll clean it up).
    • Over the Top- (Sceptical Scribe #7) The term over the top is used when something is done in excessive amounts or beyond reasonable limits. It is sometimes (in the UK at least) shortened to O.T.T. The term was first coined during the Great War when the troops became engaged in trench warfare. When the troops were sent over the trench wall, the order given would usually be over the top lads and best of luck. The over the top tactic gained little or no land, but it saw thousands of men slaughtered as they crossed no-man's land http://www.grammar-monster.com/sayings_proverbs/over_the_top.htm
    • Pee in Your Cheerios (Mousse #37)- A term used to draw attention to someone's bad mood, bitchiness. https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=peed in your cheerios
    • Perfect storm (AustinIllini #36)- A "perfect storm" describes an event where a rare combination of circumstances aggravate a situation drastically. In all normal contexts, anything described as a "perfect storm" is likely to have catastrophically bad consequences.
    • Put out to pasture (AustinIllini #36)- For a person forced to retire. For a piece of equipment, replaced with newer equipment. http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/put+out+to+pasture
    • Raining Cats and Dogs- A literal explination for raining cats and dogs is that during heavy rains in 17-century England some city streets became raging rivers of filth carrying many dead cats and dogs. The first printed use of the phrase does date to the 17th centurey, when English playwright Richard Brome wrote in The City Witt (1652): "It shall rain dogs and polecats." His use of "polecats" certainly suggests a less literal explination , but no better theory has been offered. Other conjectures are the the hyperbole comes from a Greek saying, similar in sound, meaning "an unlikely occurrence," https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Raining cats and dogs
    • Read the Riot Act- (Scepticalscribe #25) And then there is "reading the riot act" - which - in modern metaphorical use means the last warning from an authority figure (such as a parent, or teacher) before some sanction is imposed. "You lot, I'm about to read you the riot act.."
      Historically, of course, it meant something similar; a crowd may have gathered to protest an especially egregious act on the part of the authorities, and, once the forces of law and order (the use of this Act predated the existence of the police, so something along the lines of dragoons would have been used) had made an appearance, before they charged, or were allowed to charge, a figure clad in the robes of authority (such as a magistrate) would literally announce to the crowd that he was about to "read the Riot Act" which - in essence - instructed them to disperse before they were charged and gave legal force to the act of charging by the mounted soldiery. https://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/read-the-riot-act.html
    • Saved by the Bell- A reference to a safety coffin when there was a fear of being buried alive, or a boxer about to lose a fight, saved by the bell rung at the end of the round. https://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/saved-by-the-bell.html
     
  2. SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus

    SandboxGeneral

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    #2
    Here's one that no one that I've heard use it can explain what the hell it means.

    "All get out"

    When they don't know what it means, why do they use it?

    I still don't know what it means or its origin.
     
  3. jbarley macrumors 68040

    jbarley

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  4. OLDCODGER macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    As stubborn as all get out. Means: to a great or extreme extent.
     
  5. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    #5
    Which of course is an Anglicization of tout de suite. The one I found amusing was hearing Brits say “take a dekko”, where “dekko” is an anglicization of देखो, which is an imperative form of the Hindi word देखना—to look.

    Not sure if these are idioms per se, but close enough: language is pretty cool.
     
  6. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

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    #6
    I've never heard take a dekko. You sure they were brits?
     
  7. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #7
    That comes from a compression of the French expression "tout de suite" which means.........'"immediately".
    --- Post Merged, May 13, 2018 ---
    Hadn't spotted your response when I wrote mine.
     
  8. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    #8
    Pretty sure they were, after I heard it I looked it up to make sure I wasn’t imagining things. Apparently it’s a British slang. Perhaps it’s only used in certain parts?
     
  9. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

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    #9
    Maybe. But I've lived in quite a few parts of England.
     
  10. Scepticalscribe, May 13, 2018
    Last edited: May 13, 2018

    Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #10
    Quite a few expressions - or idioms - come about during times of change, (or war), and sometimes, the original precise meaning (and context) of the expression gets lost or forgotten as the expression acquires linguistic currency as a description of something which derived from the original experience (which is no longer directly relevant) that the expression originally described.

    "Over the top" is one such; these days, it tends to mean extremely or excessively flamboyant or overdone - something excessive by its very nature. But the expression derived from the order given in the trenches during the First World War when about to commence an attack - to 'go over the top' (of the trench); 'let's go over the top'.

    The sense of excess clearly came about as a result of the insane and stratospheric casualties that invariably resulted from obeying orders that commanded you to "go over the top", but nowadays, this expression describes excess, whereas originally it was simply an order to more or less commit suicide in an impossible attack.
     
  11. OLDCODGER macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    It was quite common when I were a young lad - when we still had an empire.
     
  12. Huntn thread starter macrumors P6

    Huntn

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    #12
    It means something is extreme as in really good or really bad or really something. ;) I’d say this phrase was used in the 50-60s but I’ve not heard it forever.

    Idiom: As all get out
    https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=as all get out

    to describe something in absolute relativity to its spectrum of reality
    This place is cool as all get out. This food is gross as all get out. She is lookin' hot as all get out. He is sharp as all get out tonight!
    #totally#completely#entirely#wholly#absolutely
    by RyanPK November 30, 2006

    Added, working down the list.
    --- Post Merged, May 13, 2018 ---
    This may be considered slang in addition to an idiom.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toot_Sweets
    The song title is a play on words, a humorous Anglicisation of the French expression "tout de suite", meaning "at once" or "right away". During World War I British soldiers serving in France, most of whom could not speak French, adopted the phrase as "toot sweet" to mean "hurry up" or "look smart".[1][2

    Added.
     
  13. jbarley macrumors 68040

    jbarley

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    #13
    "Knock you up"

    as in, "would you like me to knock you up in the morning?"
     
  14. Huntn, May 13, 2018
    Last edited: May 13, 2018

    Huntn thread starter macrumors P6

    Huntn

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    #14
    https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/dekko

    Added to list.
    --- Post Merged, May 13, 2018 ---
    knock up
    https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/knock+you+up
    1. rude slang To impregnate someone. A noun or pronoun can be used between "knock" and"up." I really hope I didn't knock her up—I'm not ready to be a dad!
    2. To awaken or call for someone by knocking at their door. A noun or pronoun can be usedbetween "knock" and "up." Primarily heard in the UK. I can knock you up when my alarm goes

    Added.
     
  15. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #15
    (Western Pennsylvania, USA) "Nebby Nose" (or "Nibby Nose") -- meaning: poking into someone else's business or wanting to do so..... Example: "Well, aren't you the nebby nose staring out the window at the new neighbors moving in?" Or, "Gee, you're being awfully nibby asking me about something that is really rather personal."
     
  16. SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus

    SandboxGeneral

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    #16
    I get that, as to what it means per se. But what I don't understand is how these particular 3 words came together to become this idiom. All. Get. Out. To me, these words make no sense whatsoever to have come together to have the meaning it does.

    My mother uses it a lot and I ask her what it means and she can never say.
     
  17. jeremy h macrumors 6502

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    #17
    I've actually heard it before. In the same vein - gone doolally - from Deolali, a sanatorium camp for those in the British Indian Army who'd spent too long in the midday sun playing with the mad dogs etc...
     
  18. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #18
    Ah, I had never given thought to where "gone doolally" came from; absolutely fascinating.

    Another I have always liked is "throw down the gauntlet".

    In modern (and ancient) usage, it means issue a challenge (of a compelling sort, the sort one is compelled to respond to). These days, it is a metaphor for declaring or issuing a challenge, but, historically, it was an actual challenge to combat which a medieval knight, or someone who wore a gauntlet (in essence, an armed glove), issued by throwing the gauntlet to the ground in front of the person who was to be challenged.
     
  19. martin2345uk macrumors 6502

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    #19
    This really made me chuckle (“,)
     
  20. OLDCODGER macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    If I remember my history correctly, a knight would challenge by throwing his gauntlet down, so as not to have to dismount, being a major pain to get back up again. Post that period, it was usual for gentlemen to slap the face of the challenged with a leather glove.

    My mother used to berate herself for going doolally any time she did/said something silly.
     
  21. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #21
    Another idiom with a bit of history is "wigs on the green" (a saying my mother loved to use, and was she was fascinated by its possible background).

    In modern use, it means a sharp disagreement or fight. 'Oh, there'll be wigs on the green after that."

    Historically, it also meant the same thing, but physically, rather than metaphorically; the term itself dates from the 18th century, when gentlemen wore periwigs, or wigs, and - if involved in a physical fight, or fisticuffs, - their wigs might just go flying onto the grass, or village green.
     
  22. Huntn thread starter macrumors P6

    Huntn

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  23. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #23
    @Huntn, you have a background in the services. This means that you should know 'snafu' which dates from WW2.
     
  24. arkitect macrumors 603

    arkitect

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    #24
    I like it!
    Never heard it before… just the other duel related "Pistols/Handbags at dawn".

    I shall make use of it at the first opportunity.
     
  25. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #25
    Excellent.

    My mother always loved that expression.

    And then there is "reading the riot act" - which - in modern metaphorical use means the last warning from an authority figure (such as a parent, or teacher) before some sanction is imposed. "You lot, I'm about to read you the riot act.."

    Historically, of course, it meant something similar; a crowd may have gathered to protest an especially egregious act on the part of the authorities, and, once the forces of law and order (the use of this Act predated the existence of the police, so something along the lines of dragoons would have been used) had made an appearance, before they charged, or were allowed to charge, a figure clad in the robes of authority (such as a magistrate) would literally announce to the crowd that he was about to "read the Riot Act" which - in essence - instructed them to disperse before they were charged and gave legal force to the act of charging by the mounted soldiery.
     

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