Tag Archives: dogs

Cliche Sunday

I spent some time with my horses this weekend, so I am thinking  that maybe animals would be a great subject for clichés this week. I always spend time with my puppies, and I pretty much love anything with fur and four legs. Which means there won’t be any “swing a dead cat” or “beating a dead horse” clichés either! Definitely phrases I never use.

A dog is a man’s best friend: an animal that proves to provide useful service to humans, often with a specific reference to dogs.  Although dogs are an extremely popular pet these days, they did not start out that way. It was in 1684 that lap dogs became popular with rich ladies. Before that, phrases referring dogs often contained the words “diseased” or “bite.”  A popular phrase in the 1700s was “to give a dog a bad name.”  But the dog became more popular and used as a pet in the 1800s, giving rise to this poem:

The New-York Literary Journal, Volume 4, 1821:

The faithful dog – why should I strive
To speak his merits, while they live
In every breast, and man’s best friend
Does often at his heels attend.*

A little bird told me: being secrets told by a private source.  This became a popular literary idiom, using birds to carry messages. And while this exact phrase isn’t found in the Bible, its origins are most likely from Ecclesiastes 10-20:

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.

A nest of vipers: a group of dangerous, likely evil,  people. Being called a “snake” has always been an  insult, and goes back deep into history, certainly from the Bible but also was used  in other literary stories. Vipers became popular as the “most evil” of snakes as they were poisonous in the sixteenth century. ‘Groups of people, usually those of villainous intent, were called ‘nests’ from around the same period. The first documented occurrence of the two terms combined to form ‘a nest of vipers’ was in 1644, when a pamphlet that criticised a group of plotters who were planning treason against the English Parliament was titled A Nest of Perfidious Vipers’*

Mad as a March Hare: completely mad. Of course we all know this one from my favorite, Alice in Wonderland. Apparently they are not actually mad in march, just ruled  by their hormones as March is their mating season.  While Lewis Carroll may have used this idea most famously, he is certainly not the only one.

Thanne [th]ey begyn to swere and to stare, And be as braynles as a Marshe hare.
–W. C. Hazlitt in Remains Early Popular Poetry of England, 1864

A lack of brains in the March hare continued into another well-known phrase: hare-brained. I guess it could be a two for one!

*Phrases.org

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Friday Fictioneers

Friday Fictioneers is here at last! Rochelle presents us with a photo (this week from Jennifer Prendergast) and we do our best to express it in 100 words. Check out all the other expressions HERE!

 

He watched from the car. He wanted desperately to get out, but he knew he had to be good.

Finally they were ready for him.

Opening the door, Mom took his collar and led him to the boat at the edge of the water. Petting his head, she encouraged him to get in while Dad held it steady. He climbed in clumsily, paws slipping on the unfamiliar surface, before curling up on the bottom.  Mom climbed in, Dad gave a big shove and they were off!

He eventually pushed his nose up cautiously, drinking in the scents of the lake.

 

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FFfAW

Another friday is upon us! Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers comes along with it, and here is my effort for Priceless Joy’s prompt. Please check out all the other stories here!

she ran down the path, playfully kicking the leaves. Her dog chased the leaves, pouncing ferociously on each one. She came this way every week, but it was so much more fun with her new puppy.  She looked at him, making sure he wasn’t too tired yet. The cool fall weather was a great time to get him in shape, although she had plenty of water in the car for both of them.

After a half mile, she turned the eight month old puppy around. She watched indulgently as he sniffed the grass as he loped along in front of her. It definitely wasn’t going to be her fastest mile, she thought.

A man emerged suddenly from the woods, stepping out onto the path in front of her. Instantly the dog jumped forward, hackles raised. The man backed up, turned and wandered off down trail.

“And that, my dear,” she said as she encircled the puppy’s neck to give him a hug, “is why I decided on a Great Dane/Rottweiler cross!”

(171 words)

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