And yet we continue to use sayings from long ago–their original meanings lost in the annals of history.
Here’s a few common sayings we still use today.
- Piping hot This descriptor has its roots in the bakery biz. In times of yore, the village baker would blow a pipe announcing that fresh bread had just been pulled from the oven. The villagers, upon hearing the loud nose, came a runnin’ to buy the fresh loaves.
Make no bones about it
- We’re used to having our chicken and fish de-boned. But many years ago, diners had to be very careful when they ate. If the hungry person de-boned their meal carefully, they could dig into the pile of protein with gusto–with nary a worry about choking on a bone.
Down in the dumps
- This history behind this saying is just too circumspect to be true. Seems an ancient Egyptian pharaoh named Dumpos died from depression. Anyone who suffered from the king’s ailments was said to have come down with Dumpos’ disease.
Hit a snag
- A lumberjack’s term, this phrase meant the logs floating down the river were being held up by a tree trunk (snag) stuck into the river.
- From the gold-panning days of yesteryear, this expression was coined by those who hoped gold flakes would be revealed after they shook the sand from the pan.
- If a seaman didn’t the know the difference between the various ropes and rigging of a sailboat or how to handle them, he would be assigned to menial tasks. So if a sailor wanted to a better position he had to “know the ropes.”
- Ragemane rolle is a scroll used in a medieval game of chance.
Called on the carpet:
- When railroad was king, the big railroad bosses had elegant and luxurious offices–you know, the kind with carpet! When a misbehaving employee did something bad, the Big Boss summoned them to their carpeted office for a scolding.