Cliche Sunday

Animals! I love anything with four legs and a tail….whether it purrs, barks or grunts. I gotta admit that I do like fur (so soft!), but I won’t discriminate against any animal if it happens to be missing. Yes, even for Bearded Dragons. They change color when they are happy with you, you know. I thought that animal clichés, from the most overused to the obscure would be a great subject today.

a little bird told me: a source you don’t want to reveal. This most likely did come from the Bible, although the exact wording wouldn’t be seen until 1833.

Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter.
                              Ecclesiastes 10-20

act the giddy goat: to act foolishly. Ok, I have never used this one. But I do like the sound of it. Giddiness has not always been associated with goats, once people were abjured to not be giddy heifers or oxen. Goats came into it later:

–Don’t be actin’ the goat–
   Stray Leaves from a Military Man’s Note Book, 1879

Latin for goat is actually capra, from the word capricious. Between that and the alliteration, ‘giddy goat’ was a phrase born to stick around.

as busy as a bee: always busy with something. I had to include this one, as my horse’s name came from it. Her full name is Charlotte, and she was nicknamed “Char” by her last owner, but I thought that sounded harsh. My mom came up with “Charby,” because she was always into something! The original phrase is original indeed, as it comes from The Squire’s Tale:

Ey! Goddes mercy!” sayd our Hoste tho,
Now such a wyf I pray God keep me fro.
Lo, suche sleightes and subtilitees
In wommen be; for ay as busy as bees
Be thay us seely men for to desceyve,
And from a soth ever a lie thay weyve.
And by this Marchaundes tale it proveth wel.
              Chaucer, 1386-1400

 fly on the wall: to be in a hidden spot to overhear an anticipated confrontation. This phrase is an Americanism from the 1920s. It has definitely been over used, particularly in the age of “reality tv.” How can it be real with all those people in the house watching them? Certainly, that would affect my behavior. The idea being that the cameras were just a fly on the wall–“participents often said:
                                                                                       We just got used to the camera crew and after a while we just ignored them”*

*phrases.org.uk

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