Author Topic: When A Common Phrase Isn't....  (Read 5492 times)

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jaxsue

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Re: When A Common Phrase Isn't....
« Reply #30 on: August 08, 2010, 01:06:39 PM »
A single word here, cattacorner.  Not sure the origins of that one, it means diagnol, and is common here.  However, bf, a Floridian, gave me the weirdest look saying it.

We say 'kittycorner' up north.

Yep (Northern MI)

Kaora

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Re: When A Common Phrase Isn't....
« Reply #31 on: August 08, 2010, 02:24:21 PM »
A single word here, cattacorner.  Not sure the origins of that one, it means diagnol, and is common here.  However, bf, a Floridian, gave me the weirdest look saying it.

We say 'kittycorner' up north.

Yep (Northern MI)

Mojave Desert, CA here. :)

Cellardoor14

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Re: When A Common Phrase Isn't....
« Reply #32 on: August 08, 2010, 03:23:05 PM »
When I was little and my mom would give me a bath she'd always say "Skin a rabbit!" when I'd take a bath.  Everyone in my family does it. The first time my husband ever heard me tell our daughter to "skin her rabbit" he about flipped out and told me to stop saying it.
In my family, "skin the cat" is how we tell the little ones to strip down for bath time. Or if we're helping them, usually we say it while we pull the shirt off over their head.

Same here- and it's all one word, "Skinacat!"

I've used "A day late and a dollar short" here in the UK to blank stares, and I'm sure my American friends and family don't quite get "It's gone all pear-shaped."



nutraxfornerves

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Re: When A Common Phrase Isn't....
« Reply #33 on: August 08, 2010, 03:59:52 PM »
I participate i an online forum that discusses language on a rather casual level. Recently, a 13 year old from India asked for the meaning of "one horse town" as it made no sense to him, a thoroughly urban lad.

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Amava

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Re: When A Common Phrase Isn't....
« Reply #34 on: August 08, 2010, 05:10:06 PM »
In an online community I used to frequent, there was a majority of Americans and then some people from different European countries, like I'm from Belgium and this one friend, T, was from Country X.

He had already often been annoyed by people who did not know where Country X was or who thought it was a third world country or something.

One day, the following conversation takes place in the chat room:
T: Grrrr my connection broke again, my internet is so sucky!
K: (one of our American members): Aww yeah T., I know where you're coming from!
T: Look K, I'm sick and tired of you bashing my country. Just because my internet connection breaks doesn't mean Country X.  is behind on computers or something!
Everyone (except me): ???  :o ???
Me: (who knew immediately, due to being foreign myself, that T. had just misunderstood the phrase):
Um, T., K. just meant he knows how you feel, because his own comp breaks down often. That's what "I know where you're coming from" means.
Everyone else: Ah!

kennedar

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Re: When A Common Phrase Isn't....
« Reply #35 on: August 08, 2010, 07:02:18 PM »
When I was little and my mom would give me a bath she'd always say "Skin a rabbit!" when I'd take a bath.  Everyone in my family does it. The first time my husband ever heard me tell our daughter to "skin her rabbit" he about flipped out and told me to stop saying it.
In my family, "skin the cat" is how we tell the little ones to strip down for bath time. Or if we're helping them, usually we say it while we pull the shirt off over their head.

Same here- and it's all one word, "Skinacat!"

I've used "A day late and a dollar short" here in the UK to blank stares, and I'm sure my American friends and family don't quite get "It's gone all pear-shaped."

Pear-shaped is DH's favorite phrase. We are in Canada but have a close friend from the UK, so we hear lots of different phrases.

zyrs

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Re: When A Common Phrase Isn't....
« Reply #36 on: August 09, 2010, 06:15:08 AM »
Where I am from it is:

Kittycorner: the house diagonally across the street from you

Skin the Cat: while holding on to a overhead bar of some kind (pull-up, swing set side brace, etc) bring your legs through your arms and over your head so that you do a backwards kind of somersault in midair while still holding on to the bar with your hands, twisting your arms weird before you let go and land on your feet.  It has been many, many years since I have been able to "skin the cat".

Dressing Down/Gave a person a tongue lashing:  They did something you are very angry about and you are going to tell them what/why/how and make them feel incredibly guilty about ever doing anything like that again.  A lecture about why they are not going to do that again.

Coldcock:  To knock someone out with one hit, usually to the face.  The hit can be from a fist, flagpole or any impediment.

Unfortunately, to an ex-girlfriend "dressing down" meant taking off your clothes in order to put on your gym clothes, she had never heard "coldcock/ed"  so my story about how a guy at my Elementary school had been given a lecture by a teacher, felt bad about it and wasn't paying attention where he was going so he ran into a flagpole and knocked himself unconscious did not get the comprehension I expected.

Onyx_TKD

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Re: When A Common Phrase Isn't....
« Reply #37 on: August 09, 2010, 11:15:15 AM »
When I was little and my mom would give me a bath she'd always say "Skin a rabbit!" when I'd take a bath.  Everyone in my family does it. The first time my husband ever heard me tell our daughter to "skin her rabbit" he about flipped out and told me to stop saying it.
In my family, "skin the cat" is how we tell the little ones to strip down for bath time. Or if we're helping them, usually we say it while we pull the shirt off over their head.

Same here- and it's all one word, "Skinacat!"

I've used "A day late and a dollar short" here in the UK to blank stares, and I'm sure my American friends and family don't quite get "It's gone all pear-shaped."

I'm American and my family has no recent ties to the UK, but we use the phrase "It's gone pear-shaped," too.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2010, 11:24:58 AM by Onyx_TKD »

DangerMouth

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Re: When A Common Phrase Isn't....
« Reply #38 on: August 09, 2010, 11:18:55 AM »
When I was little and my mom would give me a bath she'd always say "Skin a rabbit!" when I'd take a bath.  Everyone in my family does it. The first time my husband ever heard me tell our daughter to "skin her rabbit" he about flipped out and told me to stop saying it.
In my family, "skin the cat" is how we tell the little ones to strip down for bath time. Or if we're helping them, usually we say it while we pull the shirt off over their head.

Same here- and it's all one word, "Skinacat!"

I've used "A day late and a dollar short" here in the UK to blank stares, and I'm sure my American friends and family don't quite get "It's gone all pear-shaped."

I know 'pear-shaped' thanks to Terry Prachett.

2littlemonkeys

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Re: When A Common Phrase Isn't....
« Reply #39 on: August 09, 2010, 11:30:09 AM »
Since ODD was about 4, I've had to explain most of these, LOL.  I'll be talking to Dh and drop an idiom.  She thinks I'm being literal and I have to explain that it's just an expression and what it means. 

My coworkers and I use the "fire drill" idiom to describe a flurry of activity that turned out to be for nothing.  "I am so sorry the Johnson report was such a fire drill. They told us they needed it right away but then decided it could wait until next week."

Jaelle

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Re: When A Common Phrase Isn't....
« Reply #40 on: August 09, 2010, 02:25:26 PM »
Hehehe ... DH, master of pithy sayings, while sitting at an office in OurCity, works closely in concert with an office of folks in India. It's been educational on both sides. They teach him about cricket, he teaches them about hockey.  :)   He uses American idiom constantly, then has to explain himself with sometimes comedic results.

The one I can think of off-hand happened recently, when the resident graphic artist presented him with a really great graphic to go with a story. DH replied (via computer chat), "Thanks, (name)! You rock!"

Lengthy pause. Then the reply: "Thank you. You also rock."

He has better stories. I'll ask him tonight for a few more.

“She was already learning that if you ignore the rules people will, half the time, quietly rewrite them so that they don't apply to you.”
― Terry Pratchett, Equal Rites

Outdoor Girl

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Re: When A Common Phrase Isn't....
« Reply #41 on: August 09, 2010, 02:36:12 PM »
I trained with a girl who, although Canadian, grew up all over the world because her father was in the diplomatic corp.  We'd use cultural references all the time that we'd have to explain.  Things from TV shows, mostly.

My mother had some doozies for expressions.  In fact, I included a lot of them in a memorial cookbook I put together.

'Getting up at sparrowfart' meant getting up really early.

'If clues were shoes, you'd go barefoot' meant you'd done something particularly boneheaded.

'Flatter than pee on a plate' meant someone was feeling really low.

'I'm so hungry I could eat the east end of a skunk headed west'.
I have CDO.  It is like OCD but with the letters in alphabetical order, as they should be.
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Marisol

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Re: When A Common Phrase Isn't....
« Reply #42 on: August 09, 2010, 02:41:39 PM »
Years ago, my [then] massage therapist asked how I'd liked my vacation.

I said, "Oh, it was great, but I stepped in an ant bed as soon as I got back to work."

("Stepped in an ant bed" meaning as soon as I walked in, I was swarmed with work from all sides. Maybe not as common a saying ...)

Her reply: "Oh my gosh! Are you all right? How many stings did you get?"

Edited to correct typo.

If anyone in my circle of friends said that I would take them literally.  Especially because a few of them work outside for a living.  

Edit to add:


My grandma used the phrase "it must have been a lie" all the time when she forgot what she was just about to say.  I've taken up the habit and say it occasionally in tribute to her, but now I am careful who I say it to.  I had a few people who never heard the phrase ask me why in the world I was going to lie to them and what was the lie going to be about.  I had to explain the phrase.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2010, 02:45:10 PM by Marisol »

Kaora

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Re: When A Common Phrase Isn't....
« Reply #43 on: August 09, 2010, 04:17:36 PM »
Outdoor Girl, I love those.  Well, I will, after this coke is off the keyboard... ;D

Squeaks

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Re: When A Common Phrase Isn't....
« Reply #44 on: August 09, 2010, 04:30:30 PM »
I offered a client coffee once and asked how he wanted, he said "hot sweet and blond" (it may have been just sweet and blond) I privately rolled my eyes and got him black coffee with sugar only.  I figured that out.  But he was a bit annoyed at the lack of cream, I guess that is the blond part. . .  it went over my head.