Cliche Sunday

The good news is that I am starting this tonight. But it has been a long day, I helped with cutting down some trees and then the grocery shopping and playing with the horses after I put the fence back up–the trees we needed were on the fenceline in the paddock. The bad news is, due to my exertions earlier today, this may be finished and published tomorrow-Monday.

I did the “tired” thing last week, by posting sleeping clichés. So what shall I do this week? Since it is spring, I like the idea of nature. My lilacs are blooming and scenting my yard, the iris are peeking out and we have buds on the roses. What a marvelous time of year.

know your onions: to be experienced and knowledgable about a subject.While there are a few theories out there–that C.T. Onions, editor of the Oxford English Dictionary and a man who certainly was knowledgeable about his etymology, or S.G. Onions, who created coins to teach English school children about money, might have been the origins of this phrase. But it was first found in print in America in The Harpers News, 1922, and The Lima News, 1923. Why onions? Why not?? 1920s America was a breeding ground for wacky phrases (see the bee’s knees for some examples) and this is just another of those.*

once in a blue moon: not likely to happen often. While the moon can actually look blue–like after a volcanic explosion, when the ash can color the atomosphere and create a “blue moon”–the phrase actually means an impossibility or absurdity. This meaning comes from medieval England, and lasted for centuries.
Yf they saye the mone is belewe,
We must beleve that it is true.
William Barlow, the Bishop of Chichester, theTreatyse of the Buryall of the Masse, 1528

primrose path: going through life pleasantly with pleasures and dissipation. Another cliché from Shakespeare, in which Ophelia was warning her brother against taking the easy path, strewn with simple flowers.

I shall the effect of this good lesson keep,
As watchman to my heart. But, good my brother,
Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,
Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven;
Whiles, like a puff’d and reckless libertine,
Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads,
And recks not his own rede.

shrinking violet: a shy person, unwilling to draw attention to themself.  Although violets and their cousins, Pansies, are attention getters these days, before genetic manipulation violets were small, retiring flowers. A a contemporary of Shelley and Keats wandering the woods noticed this, and the phrase was coined:

There was the buttercup, struggling from a white to a dirty yellow;
and a faint-coloured poppy; and here and there by the thorny underwood a shrinking violet.
—Leigh Hunter

the call of the wild: enjoying nature in its rawest forms. Perhaps the most  overused phrase we know! This  is likely to have come Jack London’s  book of the same name in 1903.  Since then manly men have been enjoying the “call of the wild.”

Yup, it is Monday morning!





Filed under Cliche Sunday

4 responses to “Cliche Sunday

  1. Lovely, Springy post, Samantha. Love those shrinking violets. And know your onions is a weird one, isn’t it? Were there a lot of onion varieties? Be interesting to know. Lovely stuff


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