So in honor of my injuries, I thought I would do some cliches on injuries. Break a Leg, right? Well, I did that, so let’s see what else is out there 🙂
break a leg: oddly enough, a good luck saying among actors before going out on stage. Being superstitous, most actores thought offering others “bad” luck would increase the chance that the opposite would occur, that they would in fact have good luck out on the stage. “Breaking a leg” also meant to make “a strenous effort”: a saying that pre-dates the earliest theatrical good luck charm meaning; for example, from The Hammond Times, Indiana, 1942:
“Whatever the army or navy want, the Continental Roll [and Steel Foundry] will turn out … Or break a leg trying.”*
adding insult to injury:to add more pain or hurt to someone already injured. This is often used in a metophorical way, meanng that once some one has been injured by words is further heaped with harsh words. The phrase itself came from a fairly obscure Georgian playwright, Edward Moore (1712-1757, in a play called “The Foundling”: ‘This is adding insult to injuries’. *
a shot in the arm: something to stimulate a positive reaction. An American phrase, first meant literally by getting drugs shot into one’s body. This cliche started in 1904, and later became a more figurative phrase. First used in a Maine newspaper in 1916:
The vets can give politics a shot in the arm and the political leaders realize it.
The Lewiston Evening Journal, January 1916*
it ain’t over til the fat lady sings: an event can’t be finished until the final show down. The story goes that during an early 20th century eruption of Montserrat, the rescue ship in the harbor was taking on survivors. A fat lady was singing to the accompanyment of a piano player to calm the people on board (similar to the musicians on the Titanic). Somehow the saying was attributed to that evacuation. The lady did not survive the ordeal, having succumbed to injuries suffered during the eruption.* The story is a bit undone by the fact that a 1995 eruption of the Soufriere Hills Volcano is the only one in recorded history. But certainly one of our more famous cliches!