Tag Archives: animals

Cliche Sunday

hmmm, so where are we? Ah, yes, ‘L.’ So we are halfway through the alphabet now. Whatever shall we do when we get to ‘Z?’ Ooh, I wonder what clichés start with ‘Z’–Zebras? Well, we will get there soon enough. On to the ‘L’s–

ladies room: a nice way of saying one has to get the toilet. There are many, many ways of saying this-rest rooms, little girls rooms, facilities, etc, etc. Ladies rooms did originally refer to the toilet. A lady’s room was a cloak room with an area to check one’s appearance, and was first used the eighteenth century.  A popular way to describe the bathroom in public areas was to call it the lavatory at that time. Even lavatory is an euphemism, as the word is latin for a place to wash clothes.

‘L’s for the animal lovers–

let the cat out of the bag: to let out a secret.  This most likely came from the dubious practice of selling a cat in a bag whilst calling it a pig for supper. If one opened the bag and let the cat out, so was the secret. This practice is referenced in many countries, including America, England, Germany and a Dutch version.  Another theory is that it is a reference to a cat-o-nine-tails. Often used on shipping vessels as punishment, the tails left marks on sailor’s backs like a cat, and were supposedly kept in bags when not in use. This idea, however, does not seem as logical as the first theory.

let sleeping dogs lie:don’t mess with a situation that is already under control. A dog, woken up suddenly, can often act unpredictably. The general populace seems to have decided it is better to let them wake up naturally, to the point of coining a phrase. The first written example of this was in 1380 by Chaucer:

                      It is nought good a slepyng hound to wake.
                                            Troilus and Criseyde

The phrase has lasted eight centuries, which seems to indicate that one should, indeed, leave a sleeping dog alone.

a little bird told me: a secret source divulged a secret. While happily used by Shakespeare and other authors, the idea of a feathered messenger most likely came from the King James version of the Bible:

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


last but not least: that the last item is just as important as the first. I have used this phrase many a time myself, and never realized that this came from theatrical tradition. When introducing actors at a play,  the phrase was often used to ensure the last actor did not feel slighted. This may have been inspired by the Bible (Matthew 19:32) but the first time the phrase was found in print was 1580:

I have heard oftentimes that in love there are three things for to be used: if time serve, violence, if wealth be great, gold, if necessity compel, sorcery. But of these three but one can stand me in stead – the last, but not the least
    Euphues and His England, John Lyly




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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”*


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Cliche Sunday

         Another Sunday so quickly!
Where does the time Go? Does it Fly? And Why?

                             How did it get so late so soon? Its night before its afternoon. December is here before its June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?

Dr. Seuss

But enough about time, let’s do some cliches!

As it is raining rather intensely here, I thought I would start with:

raining cats and dogs: meaning to rain heavily, often with high winds. One idea for the origin is simply that a loud storm is cacophonous as dogs and cats fighting. The other theory is that it was believed that witches caused storms and rode the winds in the shape of back cats. And, the God of Storms is described in Norse Mythology being surrounded by wild dogs and wolves. So, add the witchy cat-shaped winds and the wild dogs and you get “it’s raining cats and dogs.*

and if you wanted to go outside right now, you’d be:

barking up the wrong tree: being wrong about something, to go in the wrong direction for information. This one came from hunting dogs. Once a possum or squirrel was treed by a dog, they barked until the hunter came. But sometimes the animal ran branch to branch and was several trees away by the time the hunter got there. The dog, however, kept barking up the same tree.

I am pretty sure with the weather out there, you would NOT be able to:

build a fire under somebody: to try to get another person to hurry. While there is no actual proof that this was done, the phrase came from the idea that mule skinners would have to set an actual fire under a mule who had decided not to move. Coincidently, this is the same mule who gave us “stubborn as a mule.”

and I hope you swallow all of these:

hook, line and sinker: to believe an entire tall tale. This is from fishermen telling stories about the one that was so big, it got away with not only the hook, but the line and sinker. When an Eastern ‘newbie’ believed the tale, he was joked about as having fallen for the fish tale; “hook, line and sinker.” Later it came to mean just about anyone who was gullible. Another example of that would be snipe hunting…..what, you have never been snipe hunting? When would you like to go 🙂




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I have been challenged by Donna for the Love/Hate List. I do love challenges 😉 For this challenge, I have to list ten things that I love and then ten things that I hate.   Then,  nominate 10 bloggers to do the same.   I want to thank Donna for this fun challenge; and then I guess we will get started.

Easy part first (although not in any particular order, except for the first one):

Things I Love

  1. My family: starting with my hubby and working out through blood, in-laws and friends that are family too
  2. Writing: I love writing for my blogs, stretching my wings and trying new things
  3. Horses: specifically, I love my horses! They add joy to my life
  4. Dogs: again, my dogs. I don’t know how I would get along without Daisy & Bruce
  5. Animals: if it has 4 legs and a tail, I want to pet, play, cuddle with it
  6. TV: okay, I admit it, I am a tv-holic
  7. Running: definitely an addiction
  8. Yoga: my mental release
  9. Nature: water, trees, clouds; they all make me blissful and aware of what a wonderful planet we were given
  10. Showers: I do some of my best thinking in there. Plus I love just standing under that hot, hot water

and the hard part:

Things I Hate

  1. Crocs: civilization started a downward spiral the second it became acceptable to wear Crocs everywhere and anywhere, including work.
  2. Reality TV: please, make it stop…the Bachlor, the Bacholette, Married at First Sight, the Kardashians….please, please make it all stop!
  3. Mean People: everyone has bad days. But I am speaking about people who consistently get joy out of hurting others
  4. Bigots: if only people at least tried to understand why another person believed a certain thing, did a certain thing; rather than lumping them into groups and labeling them harshly.
  5. Racism: I separate this one out because bigots hate people more for what they do. Racists hate what they are. Which is incredibly stupid. How can you hate someone because they are black? Or white? Or have blue eyes? It’s genetics, and has absolutely nothing to do with who that person is.
  6. Rudeness: if I say excuse me, at least acknowledge me. Please
  7. Sleep: this is a love/hate relationship. I love to sleep, I hate that it drags me down and refuses to let me go and I waste time that could have been better spent
  8. Icy Cold: winter is fine. Snow is pretty. But when it gets below zero, I’m done
  9. Conflict: can’t we all just get along?!
  10. War: I hate that is seems unavoidable, I hate that people have to give their lives, I hate war

And the fun part:

10 other bloggers!

Casey at Adoption


Louise at Baby Gates Down

LaToya at Creative Life

CurvyLouise at CurvyLou

Prakash at ItsPH

Justin at JustinHorneker

Michael at lifeofmiblog

Sonya at Only 100 Words

Alex at Still Life with Grad Student

……and that is 10. There are so many more. These blogs are all on my reader list, so of course I think you should check them out whether or not they accept my challenge!




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