Here we go–the end of the alphabet! Following tradition, I will be doing X, Y, &Z in one lump. Sadly, the X’s seem nonexistent–which is not truly a surprise.
Now that I have reached the end of the alphabet, Cliche Sunday is also taking a break. Frankly, my weekends are so very busy, it is hard to get Cliche Sunday out. As you may have noticed by the amount of skipped weeks recently! I do have some ideas for some other serial posts–just not on Sunday 🙂 So stay tuned.
And I am sure there will be a resurgence of Cliche Sunday. Maybe in October?
you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink: people, like horses, will only do what they want, when they want. This cliché started life as a proverb, very, very long time ago, which can attest to its popularity. The earliest written copy of it was 1175, in Old English Homilies:
Hwa is thet mei thet hors wettrien the him self nule drinken
[who can give water to the horse that will not drink of its own accord?]
you are what you eat: the idea eating good food is best for you if you want to be healthy. This phrase has been around a bit longer than one might think. I thought its roots was likely to be in the 1970s, when the modern health craze hit. However, the cliché began in France in 1826:
Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es. [Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are].
Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, Physiologie du Gout, ou Meditations de Gastronomie Transcendante
Later, Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach shortened it a bit:
Der Mensch ist, was er ißt. (man is what he eats)
Concerning Spiritualism and Materialism, 1863
The modern iteration of the phrase came to be in the 1920s when Victor Lindlahr came up with the Catabolic Diet:
Ninety per cent of the diseases known to man are caused by cheap foodstuffs. You are what you eat.
zero tolerance: a policy that allows no behavior to be overlooked. This has been a popular phrase in schools recently, having a “zero tolerance” for bullying. The cliché actually came out of the American 70s, when it was used to describe police action in areas with specialized high crime–drugs, mugging, prostitution, etc. It was used more in the 80s during the War on Drugs, and also by the Food and Drug Admin to describe their policy on pesticides allowable in food.
zig-zag: the literal meaning of a series of straight lines joined at angles, used to describe a course of action. The popularity of the term is similar to other phonetically alternated phrases, like see-saw or tick-tock. The origin of this one is not known, although the earliest known versions are either German or Dutch, suggesting that it came to English second.
“eenige in de voorstad van St. Germain zig zag bewegen (some in the surburb of St Germain move in zig zag)
Dutch author Roelof Roukema, 1706