Cliche Sunday….

… back! Apparently, I took the entire week off from this blog (although I did great with Runnerwithablog!) last week. It was an unplanned vacation, but perhaps a needed one as I am full of ideas for the coming week 🙂

Starting with clichés, of course. Being easily influenced, I am going with warfare clichés today–my husband is watching a History channel documentary on WWII at present!

show your true colors: to show who you really are. This one dates back to seafaring days, when ships often flew flags misrepresenting themselves so that they could get closer to the enemy during wartime. Maritime law stated that one must show their true flag before firing. So ships would quickly show their “true color” as soon as they were within firing range.

cold enough to freeze the brass balls off a monkey: some damn cold out. Another ship phrase, this one meaning  the carriage that held the cannon balls. It was made of brass, and called a “monkey.” The balls were stacked in a pyramid on the monkey, and when frozen the shape would contract, causing the balls to fall off the monkey.

flak, or, taking some flak: to be blamed for something. A gun invented by the Germans in WWI was the Fliegerabwehrkanone, which shot bullets at our planes in an amazing and annoying  accurate hail. Not having time to say Fliegerabwehrkanone  when under attack,  pilots came to call it “taking some flak.” After the war, it was a well used phrase that changed  bullets to simple blame or criticism of another person.

  a Fliegerabwekrkanone–say that five times fast!

go off half cocked: to attempt something without checking on the necessary details.  This cliché goes back to loading muskets, which was quite cumbersome and time-consuming. If one tried to rush it, the gun probably wouldn’t fire. Hunters would preload the musket, but keep it half cocked for safety. Some hunters got excited when they saw the game and tried to shoot, forgetting that is was only half cocked.

face the music: when something goes wrong, one needs to grin and bear it (to use a cliché to explain a cliché). Soldiers that were dishonorably discharged were forced to walk through their peers, playing a march, in order to leave the camp.  The soldier had no way around this, so he must face his peers (and their music) head on in order to move on with his life.

read between the lines: to understand what someone really means, from clues they give but don’t come out say directly. This one has been around from centuries. Many military leaders have written in code through the years, and Charles I of England took it a step further. His personal papers were actually unintelligble until the 1850s, when people realized he had literally written “between the lines” with invisible ink. This quickly prompted the phrase that one must read between the lines if they didn’t understand the meaning of something.



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9 responses to “Cliche Sunday….

  1. Reblogged this on Mandibelle16 and commented:
    The Meanings of Some Interesting Cliches.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The brass balls-monkey one surprised me. I would have thought it more modern. That’s my learnin’ for the day.


  3. Love this, Samantha! Had no idea face the music was army based – fascinating. I knew the brass monkey, which is such a great turn of phrase anyway! Nice Cliche Sunday and welcome back 🙂


  4. Great post, I really love the monkey cliche it was the only one I’d never run across before.


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