Category: idioms

Tintinnabulation: Words – old and new

Pic by Aakash Sethi

Finally, I’ve found a word to rhyme with it . Constipation. Not just the physical kind. The emotional, psychological and social constipation that lockdown has forced upon us.

But back to the word. Try to say tintinnabulation when you are sober – that is prior to a binge as lockdown opens up to sales of alcohol.

How sticking to your knitting will get you stuck: idiom usage

Pivot on your toes
Pic by David Hoffman -unsplash

There was not enough wool to buy for all the crochet hours I would need to fill during the slumpy ‘non-work’ hours of lockdown. For one thing, I only bought enough for three weeks.

How years and ears distort the English language: origin of idioms

pic by Thomas Morse (unsplash)

Shakespeare was the theme of our Toastmasters meeting last week. We learnt about how much The Bard contributed to the English language – from general words and phrases to idiomatic expressions and even people’s names.

Hanged for a sheep as a lamb: idioms

My crimes are small. Stealing pens from the office, wishing ill will against my husband, and using a credit card which refuses to close no matter how many times I phone to request this. I must say I am enjoying this free money and the guilt has all but evaporated.

Oh, for the life of Rilely: origin of idioms

I guess it’s no co-incidence that my blog today is about living the life of Riley. As I have been feeling restless and vigorously browsing travel sites (Corona virus notwithstanding – SA has just confirmed its first case) it should come as no surprise as the universe has a way of putting universal synergy in your path.

From six yards to nine: how idioms originate

In mid-January I asked my bookkeeper for an updated statement of my account. I wanted to look at my Dec/Jan financial affairs to prepare myself for 2020.

What he sent was a massive 13-page dossier going back to January 2019.

Best thing since sliced bread: how idioms are formed

Last week, I decided I was tired of egg and toast for breakfast, so I ate muesli for five days. This week I ran out of bread and it would be a while until I could get to the shops. By the end of the week I was really missing my bread.

Waiting for the cows to come home: Origin of idioms

Photo by Stijn te Strake on Unsplash

It seems that I have to wait for the cows to come home to get paid by some of my clients. In one instance, I have been waiting for more than four months for an invoice to be paid. Each time I phone to enquire about the status of the payment I am fobbed off with lies that equate to “the cheque is in the mail”.

Modern World

Although the world has modernised to include the option of electronic payments, the lie can be just as glib. “I’ll send you proof of payment.” When no such thing shows up in your email, you realise you have been taken for a fool for yet another month, with false promises such as “at the end of the month”, “on our next pay run” , “definitely by Friday” – I have heard them all, and four months later I am tempted to take the legal route. Really, it is ridiculous. The companies still run month to month don’t they? The full-time staff still get paid, don’t they? But when it comes to paying freelancers, there is every excuse in the book not to.

So, I sit back and wait impatiently for the cows to come home.

Lapse in time

This idiom suggests “an indefinite period of time”, a “lapse of time with no definite end”. History informs us that the idiom has its origins as early as the 16th century. Cows enjoy a stroll and once in the fields they are satisfied to roam aimlessly with no intention of returning to their milking stables – i.e. a long but indefinite time.

Although there is comfort among fellow freelancers who suffer the same ill-treatment, four months is beyond my patience threshold, and  I have threatened legal action. Since I made this threat, I’ve received a phone call to say, “I’ll send proof of payment”.

Will the cows be home soon?

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Doggerel: How words originate

Take the log out of your eye and other idioms

Three sheets to the wind: How idioms originate

 

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.

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