Cliche Sunday

Football and clichés on a rainy Sunday, what could be better? Well, my team could be beating the Browns 23 to 7. Oh, right, they are. Of course, it’s the Browns, so that is not saying much. Since the Browns are betting on luck to beat the Patriots, I think that would category to do today–luck and gambling. (Although I do not believe in luck, so I don’t condone any sort of gambling!)

act of God: an event that is legally accepted as not being controllable in the human realm. I tend to think of this as more relating to weather than gambling, but I imagine that some people would see their team  losing as an act of God. This became a legal term in the 1800s, although of course it was used regularly in religious texts throughout history.

Force-majeure, a French commercial term for unavoidable accidents in the transport of goods, from superior force, the act of God, etc
               Dictionary of Trade Products, 1858

don’t count your chickens before they hatch: don’t count on things before they are actually yours.  This was a particular favorite in my family, perhaps as we had chickens?  The idea is a popular one, with similar phrases–“don’t look a gift horse in the mouth”,” don’t change horses in midstream.” It is quite an old phrase, dating back to the sixteenth century.

Counte not thy Chickens that vnhatched be,
Waye wordes as winde, till thou finde certaintee
   Thomas Howell, New Sonnets and pretty Pamphlets, 1570

eeny, meeny, miny, mo: a random way to choose something. We all learned this one on the playground, and children around the world have been singing it for centuries. The words have varied from country to country, but they are nonsensical in all languages.  I learned:

Eeny, meeny, miny, mo,
Catch the tiger by the toe.
If it hollers, let him go,
Eeny, meeny, miny, mo.

Children use this to choose the “it” in a game of tag, or perhaps the child needed to get the ball from the scary yard. Decision making was so easy back then! Eventually the chant was noticed by adults, and began to be written down in children’s nursery rhymes.

draw a blank: to not remember something important when asked. This one is actually from betting: Elizabeth I needed to raise capital for her regency, and so began a lottery in 1587. Purchasers names were put in a pot, and prizes written on paper were put in another pot, then pairs were withdrawn from the pots. Losers had a blank piece drawn with their name, and so became known as “drawing a blank.” The term remained popular and became more widely used for the lack of anything as time progressed.

And we won 33 to 13!!


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