What is the origin of the idiom streets ahead?
Wow, I do not know how I know this, probably my dad told me years ago and I've just retained it for an occasion such as this. In the times when there were town criers that brought beople the news, they would start at the town hall which would be at the center of the town, and they would work their way around the streets all the way out to the outskirts. This often took a whole day, and so those that lived near the centre found out in the morning before going to market and generally socialising. Those that lived near and on the outskirts wouldn't find out until evening, and so would be always talking about yesterdays news. But to them (and you must understand they were the majority AND the ones more likely to use phrases such as streets ahead) it seemed more like the others were ahead rather than themselves being behind. Therefore those close to the centre were 'streets ahead' of those that were literally streets behind. Hope that answers it for you, and until QI disproves it, good-bye Acey~Nz
4 people found this useful
from the early 1800's from an American politician who described his position 'as a man sitting on the fence, with clean boots, watching carefully, which way he may leap to keep out of the mud,
Wherever people spoke. People have made slang and idioms from the moment they invented language.
It comes from the King James Version of the Bible, in Matthew 5:13, which says: "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men." Salt was more valuable than… gold in the ancient world. When Jesus said to his disciples, 'Ye are the salt of the earth.Ye are the light of the world.' he was saying they were more valuable than gold, and by extension, so was anyone who would suffer persecution for their loyalty to him. The phrase has been used ever since to praise the very best kind of people. It has come to be typically used to pay a compliment to the finest common folk, humble, unsung heroes, decent, hardworking, dependable and unpretentious, the type that quietly give of themselves for the benefit of others and their community. ( Full Answer )
The idiom a feather in your cap is of English origin. It derivedfrom Indian warriors who added a feather to their head gear whenthey killed an enemy.
A person that didn't sleep a wink is someone who got almost no sleep at all, and to catch 40 winks is to catch a very brief but refreshing nap. The number 40 has a wide range of citations in the Bible and may have some application to this expression.
Idioms come from all different sources - from the Bible, horse racing, ancient fables to modern slang. Even famous autheors such as Aesop, Chaucer, and Shakespeare made them.. The etymology of the word is from the Latin word, idioma.
Busman's Holiday - spending your free time doing the same thing you do during work . In London, during the late 1800's, buses were pulled by horses. Some bus drivers loved their horses so much that on their days off from work, they would ride on their own buses just to make sure that other bus dr…ivers took good care of their horses. ( Full Answer )
'Cheek by Jowl:' means - nery close together, side by side . It originates from: The Midsummer Night's Dream by Shakespeare - if two people are together with one person's cheek right by another person's cheek (jowl), they are pretty close indeed.
Sitting Pretty - to be lucky or to be in an advantageous position . origin: this American expression comes from the early 1900's. Sitting is a comfortable position and pretty is an adjective suggesting beauty, leading to the suggestion of an easy, favorable situation.
Take a powder - to leave quickly; to sneak out . Origin: By 1925, this was a popular expression in the US. Powder referred to the explosiveness of gunpowder - if you flee so you won't get caught for something, you are taking a powder.
Upset the Applecart - to spoil or interfere with a plan; to obstruct progress . Origin: Originated from the 1800s whereby a farmer would bring his applecart loaded with neatly piled, fresh apples for sale. Along comes a clumsy oaf who knocks over the cart, spilling all the apples.The farmer's pla…n to sell the apples is spoiled. ( Full Answer )
Fit as a Fiddle - in good health; in fine shape origin: This expression dates from at least the 1600s. A fiddle that is fit is well-tuned and in good shape and can play terrific music. So , it was combined wth the word 'fit' to become an alliteration. Of course the 'fiddle' here is the colloquial… name for violin. 'Fit' didn't originally mean healthy and energetic, in the sense it is often used nowadays to describe the inhabitants of gyms. When this phrase was coined 'fit' was used to mean 'suitable, seemly', in the way we now might say 'fit for purpose'. Thomas Dekker, in The batchelars banquet , 1603 referred to 'as fine as a fiddle':. "Then comes downe mistresse Nurse as fine as a farthing fiddle, in her petticoate and kertle.". Not long afterwards, in 1616, there's W. Haughton's English-men for my Money , which includes: . "This is excellent ynfayth [in faith], as fit as a fiddle." . ( Full Answer )
Come Again - I do not understand what you are saying . Origin: The verb 'to come' has always meant to arrive or appear. In this 20th Century African-American expression, 'come' takes on the meaning of 'speak.'
Clip Your Wings: to end a person's privileges; to take away someone's power . Origin: In ancient Rome, people clipped the wings of pet birds so that they would not fly away. Therefore, for centuries, people have used the expression 'clip one's wings' to mean bringing someone under control.. It o…riginates from the practice of shortening flight feathers of domestic and caged birds in order to prevent flight, and therfore loss of birds. To clip someone's wings means to put in place actions or ideas to calm them down, prevent flightiness, make them settle. ( Full Answer )
Make Waves - to cause trouble, to upset matters . Origin: This 20th Century saying refers to keeping waters still. If you want to sail peacefully in your sailboat or float calmy on a raft, you do not want anybody making waves - that might rock the boat or even tip your raft over.
Nutty as a fruitcake - crazy, extremely strange in behavior. Origin: This expression originated in America in the 1920s. "Nutty" was slang for crazy; a nut was an eccentric person. Fruitcakes are made with plenty of nuts - get it?
'Lower the boom' - to scold or punish strictly. Origin: A boom is a long pole used on ships. Booms are also used backstage in theatres to move scenery. If someone actually lowered a boom upon your head, you would be knocked out!
It's a reference to driving, esp cars from the '50s. The throttle is wide open when the (gas) pedal is fully depressed. With really old cars the floorboards are metal so with the "pedal to the metal" your accelerating as much as possible.
This was stage talk in the theatre. The people who came up with this wanted to be superstitious and wish them the opposite luck, but really meaning the gook luck.
An early meaning of "crack" included boasting, bragging, and talking big. "Not all it's cracked up to be" refers to this meaning. It's not used in the literal sense of a nut being cracked or a block having a crack in it.
Until the modern age of science advancements people believed that the heart is the main organ of human body and the place where the soul resides. Thus, the heart was seen as the source of thoughts and feelings, and the depository of memory. To know something by heart meant to be able to instantly re…call it from memory. ( Full Answer )
Started in the electric car era. Many of the electric's were driven and steered by means of a tiller which was operated by a driver seated in the rear seat. Jeff W.
In order to make contact on a curveball in baseball, you must recognize it almost before it has been released from the pitchers hand. Once you know its a curveball it is can be easy to hit. Like wise with the phrase, by being ahead of the curve you have already figured out what will take others a wh…ile longer. People may scoff at baseball analogies, but consider how long baseball has been Americas pastime. It certainly makes sense that some of these phrase can derive from a sport the has been around for well over 100 years. ( Full Answer )
idioms in general have no specific date in which they became in use, rather, one or two were in use from various areas of society- the Bible for one, then other idioms were found and put to use. origins of individual idioms can often be traced back to dates,
There is a game of Twenty Questions. One person decides on a secret thing or person to think of. The other has 20 chances to ask yes;no questions to narrow down and guess the answer.
In the 1890-1900s, many saloons had a "free lunch" for customers- sandwiches, pickles, boiled eggs, etc. to encourage them to stay and buy drinks. Sometimes a penniless man (a bum in the term of the day) might slip in to the saloon to grab a bite of the "free lunch"- without buying drinks. If the ba…rtender spotted him, he was about to get the "Bum's Rush"- out of the door and into the street. ( Full Answer )
Normally when a person is said to be "ahead of his time", it means that the person is sort of into things which is considered weird at that time, but later becomes the "in thing" or becomes popular.
From the old days of boxing, A fighter who puts all his strength into every punch is not holding back, or 'pulling' his punches.
a female said in 1739 that her husband lost his head and she was going to be killed because her husband was a spy.
This idiom has nearly reached cliche status. It is often offered in an eulogy as an expression that someone has died early (and usually expectantly) in life and was about to do great things with his or her life.
Proverbs 14:23 states: "all hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty" (NIV)
Sorry is a passive statement and refers to events that have past and so can not really do anything. It is a retort by someone who is upset to throw the statement back in the face of the apologiser.
It mans that if you have to finish something before a specified time, you are in a race against the clock: do you complete your task first or does the clock reach the time first?
Meaning The notion that for every wrong done there should be a commensurate justice, instead of wholesale retribution. Origin From the Code of Hammurabi. Hammurabi was King of Babylon, 1792-1750BC. The code survives today in the Akkadian language. Used in the Bible, Matthew 5:38 (King James …Version): . Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.. ( Full Answer )
It originated with cowboys who noticed the horns on young cattle had a greenish tint. So in the Old West, a person who was young or inexperienced in his craft or trade was called a greenhorn.
That would depend on which way it is being used. There are two ways to use Bread and Butter. The most common way is to use it as an idiom for one's livelihood. That company is your family's Bread and Butter. This simply alludes to the fact that without a means to make a living you can't eat. The sec…ond way is the superstitious idea that if something comes between a couple while they are walking one of them says, Bread and Butter. Alluding to the impossible task of separating butter once it has been applied to bread. By saying Bread and Butter it means nothing can come between them. These are common themes and likely started simultaneously in different places. ( Full Answer )
That's not an idiom - it means exactly what it says - there aretwelve months in a year.
The "wings" are the areas just offstage, left and right, in a theatre, where actors who are not onstage get ready to enter and perform. So the phrase means to wait for one's turn to take part, particularly the kind of waiting where a "cue" tells you it's time to enter. It's applied metaphorically to… all kinds of patient waiting for an opportunity. ( Full Answer )
Traced back in English to 1836. Originates from the Roman poet who wrote that " tempus fugit" (time flees). In 1835, Shakespeare threw a clock out the window and came up with the saying "time flies" in 1836.
It came from old English literature and is frequently used. In fact, a film made in 1930 was named after the common phrase.
It is not an idiom. Unkindness is often called heartlessness, and so the expression "have a heart" means "Do not be unkind."
There is some debate about the origin. The most common consensus is that it's probably referring to the practice of police shining a hot, bright light on a suspect during questioning, to make them uncomfortable.
There is a nautical explanation that refers to be under the weather bow of a boat, a part of the boat that takes the force of rough seas. A cause of sea sickness
The phrase in one form or another has been 'around' for some years. In 1581 a phrase quoted was, 'The Gentleman, which be the creme of the common'. In 1867 it was quoted that 'a gentleman had the creme of the boating business. A newspaper - the Saturday Review - stated that 'duck shooting was the ve…ry creme of wild fowl shooting'. The phrase the 'creme of the crop' has passed through English speaking countries to mean the best of the best - the creme always comes out on top. ( Full Answer )
When people saw bats fly into walls and/or narrowly miss them. People figured bats were blind and they were right. So whenever someone bumped into a wall, they said they were as blind as bats.
I think you mean back burner. It's pretty obviouswhen you see that, isn't it? Something put on the back burner onthe stove isn't what you're cooking at the moment. You put it asideto work on something else and plan to come back to it later.
Hercules is a figure in classical mythology. He was given the "Twelve Labours," which required 12 difficult tasks: slay the Nemean Lion, slay the nineheaded lemaean Hydra, capture the Erymanthian Boar, Clean the Augean stables in one day, and on and on. Many statues and painting portray the labors. …So a Herculean task is labor intensive. ( Full Answer )
This is not an idiom. Idioms are phrases whosemeaning you cannot figure out. This is one word, so it's slang . It comes from shopping carts - if you're sodrunk you have to be pushed home in a shopping trolley, you're"trollied."
It is not an idiom. It is an expression. The difference is that an idiom's meaning cannot be derived from the meaning of its individual words. In the expression wolfing down food, the meaning is clearly derived from the meaning of the words, and people have been saying it for hundreds of years.
More than likely, this idiom comes from archery and shooting. Being good with guns and projectile weapons is referred to as having "good marksmanship." So it means you hit what you aim to hit. So as an idiom, if you say something exactly as intended and your audience understands it the way you meant… it, and you strike something your audience believes to be true, then you hit your mark. ( Full Answer )