Category: How words are forme

How to tackle intelligence: word meanings

pic by David Hellman: Unsplash

At university our syndicate was referred to as ‘The Brains Trust’ and in other groups I was touted as ‘Brainiac’. Thus, I  thought I had intelligence – quite a bit of it if you don’t mind my arrogance for a moment.

I thought it meant the ability to learn, acquire information, store knowledge and so on.

Keep the ball rolling with these idioms

pic by Joel Muniz

This week I received a rather disturbing SMS from my bank. In fact, this was the second time the bank was sending this alarming message. The first time, I checked my various banking accounts and could find nothing irregular. I assumed the bank was sending this message to the wrong customer.

Why are squibs damp? How idioms are formed

Squid
picture by Sam Lee Unsplash

Last week, I set out to take part in a cyclethon which had all the promise of a thunderous event complete with disco lights, the hippest of DJs and an ongoing supply of energy drinks.

When I arrived, all I saw were a lot of empty bikes, women and men in tights waiting to mount, while crackling sound speakers and subdued lighting attempted to create an ambience.

Talking the hind legs off a donkey: How idioms originate

Last night while watching an excellent wildlife programme, I saw an antelope give birth, apparently a two-hour stint, to get the eager youngster out.

While I was engrossed in the final minutes, a friend called and took away my attention. She was complaining about her friend who talks the hind legs off a donkey. While doing that, she was guilty of the same offence – and I wanted to get back to ‘my’ antelope.

Last roll of the dice: how idioms are used

It’s all fair in love and war and friendship too.

I felt I was losing ground with a friend and that we would soon be going our own separate ways, so I asked her to do something for me which would require her to commit to making an effort in a very specific way.

Money in my salad: slang in language

Eat your greens, earn your bucks
Photo by Hector Bermudez  – Unsplash

This week while working on a copy assignment for a bank, I looked up other words that mean money.  I was surprised by what Google returned. In addition to a few formal words, five or so, there were a large number of slang words – probably more than 80.

Of Smoke and Mirrors and other idioms

A good friend told me this week – her ship had come in.

This means a change in luck, a sudden shower of good fortune or a great success.

When I heard this news, I was delighted for my friend, but also sceptical. So, I kept my distance and held off on the back-slapping and celebratory dancing.

Chinese Wall is moral dilemma: How idioms originate

Chinese Wall in Poker
Poker is the perfect example of not showing your hand (photo by Raymond Tan)

As I contemplate my next travel destination, my enthusiasm starts with a trip to Russia, then Egypt and Morocco and finally India, again.

Then it occurs to me, having just finished reading Mao’s Last Dancer by Li Cunxin, why not China?

A new take on money laundering

This week while editing an academic text, my hawkish eyes fell upon the phrase money laundry. The esteemed professor had made a typographical error. I smiled quietly to myself as images of ‘money laundry’ flooded my imagination.

Seasonal snag for armpit advertising

armpit pic

I was intrigued and a little disgusted to read that Japan is using women’s armpits as an advertising medium.