My problem with idioms today

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For those of you who are listening,

People tend to go through their day to day life using expressions they have picked up along their way, and use them without asking any questions.

Like many other things, this has started to annoy me. It baffles me why anyone would use idioms from 90 years ago without batting an eyelash. Below are a few favorites that I regularly encounter, my take on them, and hopefully some info on where they originate from.

Elbow Grease

This is up there, how is this still being used today? You can thank Andrew Marvell who said this back in 1672. That’s a full 346 years of idiots using this idiom which doesn’t fill me with joy as a starting point.

In a previous job we had a young apprentice who we sent off on errands to find impossible items, elbow grease being one of them. Along with indicator fluid, glass nails, and a VERY long weight, it gave us great enjoyment to see the sourpusses face upon his return.

Easy as Pie

It would seem in the late 19th century Americans LOVED pie.

So much so that they started to include it in their daily lingual. Everyone wanted a slice of the American pie, they had their fingers in it, and it made them feel upper crust.

They were even promised pie in the sky as a way to endure life. Like a promise of heavenly reward for baring their own existence. In my head, I just see an American asking a priest at Sunday mass “But will there be pie?”

Pardon my French 

This takes the biscuit. Many of you (including myself) would think that it would be used after saying something rude. Note; this normally is said in English, and then accompanied by “pardon my french” which is annoying enough.

Wikipedia states that the phrase “derives from a literal usage of the exclamation. In the 19th century, when English people used French expressions in conversation they often apologised for it – presumably because many of their listeners (then as now) wouldn’t be familiar with the language”.

It then got a bit racist. Coming into the 20th century it was then used to attach anything rude, or foul, with the French. For example; “taking French leave” means to leave the party without saying goodbye. “French kissing” implies that they would have contracted herpes from THAT kind of kiss. And a “French letter” is simply just a condom.

I truly hope I have shed some light on some of the idioms used today. Please try to refrain from using them. Although, I can appreciate it’s rather hard to do.

 

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30 thoughts on “My problem with idioms today

  1. I enjoy how much you can’t stand them. Hahahahaha. As you know I packed a job lot into one poem, so technically I should have had my fill, but chances are I’ll be back on that horse in no time as I’m actually keen as mustard on the wee things.

    – Esme bowing and waving upon the Cloud

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  2. I always thought “easy as pie” was a joke because pie crust making is an art, then I read that it the consuming of pie and not the making, which again makes no sense. Except for sushi (which involves chopsticks), is there anything really difficult to eat…unless you hate it? 😀

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  3. I use pardon my French a lot without even really thinking about it, to a degree, but l tend to say things many a time which upset a lot of people.

    I tend to have idioms in my speech and probably include at least one in around 75% of what l write.

    At the end of the day they are just words like all other words to me, l think we all get into habits, good or bad, we all have habits 🙂 Sometimes it is simply much easier to use an idiom than to play around with twenty words when six will do 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I actually love them, and the older the better. Alongside (genuine) Cockney rhyming slang (I’m a Londoner) such things are valuable traditions, and I would hate to see them die out. I also talk in ‘old money’ (ten bob, etc) and still use gallons, pints, and ounces. Perhaps I am obdurate too?
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love languages, idioms and how languages change and evolve. My take is a tad different from yours. Now, do you use or have you heard the following: “that doesn’t cut the mustard?” I had difficulty finding an answer and the origin to this expression which both my parents used. Thanks for an interesting blog post.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Although some people might say you were barking up the wrong tree, I think this post is the best thing since sliced bread. I won’t beat around the bush; I’d be glad to see the back of silly idioms. Perhaps you can make them to disappear at the drop of a hat. Actions speak louder than words; the ball is in your court, but you can cross that bridge when you come to it. However – playing devil’s advocate – you can’t judge a book by it’s cover and you might find yourself caught between two stools. While drastic times call for drastic measures, you can’t put all your eggs in one basket and maybe it would be best not to jump on the bandwagon. I hope we see eye to eye , and you take this with a grain of salt.

    Elvis has left the building.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s a pleasure – and a relief! I’ve spent the last 18 hours hiding under the table, expecting a hitman to put a violent end to my idiomatic idiocy 🙂

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  7. Dear Jane and A10 , I enjoyed your conversation immensely, thanks and I hope you will do a rerun! P.S. I hate to tell this on myself because as a writer I was not familiar with idioms…where I grew up it was all just regular words, used daily. Do I feel dumb: Yes. Forgive my lack of blarny!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. In India, they do away with Most of Grammar, (this from my memory, and I am 70+), by the time we leave the VIII-X th classes. After that, the professor comes and just tells the ‘meaning’ of the lesson, and we are happy to write away our exams.

    It is only of late that I have been forced to brush up with my Grammar, and had a look see at Idioms too, which, here it is in connection with Your nice post, had been all Greek to me! :l Hehe!

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  9. I loved this post, and the idiots who use idioms. I wrote a humor post once entitled, “So Easy an Idiom Could Do It.” At work, years ago, I remarked to a black man, “You ain’t just whistling Dixie.” He responded, “Hell No! I ain’t whistling no Dixie.” 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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