Sunday Cliches

I have to admit, I am pretty tired. Long weekend 🙂 I could even, well, fall asleep standing up! I wonder what we should pick as a theme this week?

fast asleep: soundly sleeping. While most of us know and use this phrase, we probably have little knowledge of why one would want to be “fast” asleep. The word “fast” actually comes from the old German word “fest”, meaning stuck firmly or not easily moved–“stuck fast.” Early on the phrase switched back and forth from “fast asleep” or  “in a fast sleep.” The first written record of the phrase was in 1555:

And I looked that the old bishop should have made me an answer, and he was fast asleepe
                Acts and Monuments, John Foxe

say goodnight Gracie: the sign off from George Burns’ show in 1958. This sign off prompted other comedians, such as Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In  and  British comedians Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett, to use a similar ending phrase. Later, based on Gracie’s rather scatterbrained character, the phrase came to mean it was time to leave after a stupid comment.  Or a silly comment.

swan song: a final performance before retiring; or passing away.  Swans were mistakenly thought  to be mute, until moments before dying when they would burst into  a haunting melody. This idea was proven wrong very early in history, but has remained part of our culture regardless.

Observation shows that the story that the dying swan sings is false.”
         Pliny the Elder, Natural History, AD 77

And thus ends my short but sweet list of clichés this week!



Filed under Cliche Sunday

5 responses to “Sunday Cliches

  1. Ooh, love the swan song derivation particularly – the poor old swans singing their hearts out before they swoon away. Lovely post 🙂


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