I just can't think of a witty title, sorry!
October 7, 2003 10:57 AM   Subscribe

Need an Idiom? Check out The Idiom Connection. Think certain phrases are such cliches that they should be banned? Before you condemn or mock them, take a moment to learn more about the origin of some of these phrases.
::via The Tower of English::
posted by anastasiav (8 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Just what the doctor ordered, anastasiav! ;)


Get your first, GeoCities link while you can, folks!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 11:08 AM on October 7, 2003

The web site you are trying to access has exceeded its allocated data transfer. Visit our help area for more information.

If you build it, they will overwhelm your meagre bandwidth allotment.
posted by srboisvert at 11:09 AM on October 7, 2003

Oh, rats.

Well, the last link is the best one anyhow....
posted by anastasiav at 11:10 AM on October 7, 2003

Google Cache
posted by rhapsodie at 11:22 AM on October 7, 2003

I hate to be a party-pooper/wet blanket/[insert cliche of choice], but the last link is useless for any but entertainment purposes. Rarely have I seen such an open avowal of know-nothingism:
The origin of a given phrase is generally not known with certainty.   I make no guarantee regarding the correctness of any phrase origins provided.  In fact you will often find multiple possible origins offered.   Although I do research suggested origins, the key is that origins must stand the test of reasonableness (as judged by me).  In the end you must be the judge.

A number of books exist on the subject.   In most cases these tend to be dry, academic research identifying dates and authors of when phrases first appear in printed materials.   I tend not to include such uninteresting bits unless it adds to the explanation.   Unless the reference helps to explain why the author chose to use that phrase then such reference is not likely to be relevant.

This is an effort at original research, not simply a collection of information culled from published books.   My methodology is to tap a vast pool of knowledge - people who use the internet.   By bringing together the tremendously diverse background and experience set of visitors, a high quality of phrase origins is being assembled.
Yes! "People who use the internet" are far better judges of etymology than mere scholars who have been studying the subject for years! Let's apply the same methodology to medicine. Never mind your opinion, doctor, I'm going to ask a random sample of passersby whether this man's kidney should come out!
posted by languagehat at 12:45 PM on October 7, 2003

(I can get to the geocitieslink) - nice one, I love idioms.
posted by dabitch at 3:45 PM on October 7, 2003

There are so many idioms in there that I never even think about. I can understand why ESL people must have a nightmare.

Although, at least in English the nouns don't have gender. That's the stupidest language convention ever.
posted by norm at 8:32 AM on October 8, 2003

Viva las idiomas!
posted by squirrel at 2:04 PM on October 8, 2003

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