Home

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?

Would you like to improve your English? click her for English courses

Doggerel: How words originate

Take the log out of your eye and other idioms

Three sheets to the wind: How idioms originate

 

Black Friday and bargain idioms

Madness

When Game of Thrones captured the imagination of millions of fans to an obsessive degree, I used to say, “You get two kinds of people – those who watch Game of Thrones and those who do not.” I was in the ‘do not’ camp.

You’re never too young to write a book

There’s a book in everyone, so the saying goes. And in some there are more than one – think of all the Jodi Picoult and Nora Roberts, John Grisham and Cathy Kelly novels out there, for example.

Whether you have one or many, the point here is that you’re never too young to write a book. This has been proved by a talented writer under the age of 10.

Wise up to words on your web in 2020

It’s often said that owning a website is like having your own piece of online real estate. Who wouldn’t want that? A no-brainer. But statistics show that many small business owners are not there yet or have little or no intention of getting there. And that’s not wise. If you’re in business at all you need a website.

Take the log out of your eye and other idioms

Last night while watching Come Dine With Me, I latched on to satirist David Lamb’s shortening of an idiom. He simply used the two words of comparison and said, pot/ kettle Terence, to suggest he had a blind spot.

Three sheets to the wind: How idioms originate

Last week I had mentioned to my sister that I saw my aunt at a function and she was three sheets to the wind. This meant I could not give her the important message. My sister looked at me in despair and said she did not know what that meant.

Let them eat cake: How idioms originate

pic by Eric Tompkins _ Unsplash

At a United Nations gender equality conference last week, one of the speakers who was trying to break through the gender disparity in our society used the phrase “bread and circuses” quite a lot.  I’m not sure if her usage was correct, but there it was.

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.

venenatis id non nunc ipsum mi,