Author Topic: When A Common Phrase Isn't....  (Read 5618 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Elfqueen13

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4203
    • Adventures in House Hunting!
Re: When A Common Phrase Isn't....
« Reply #45 on: August 09, 2010, 04:31:11 PM »
A favorite of mine: when you're overwhelmed and confused, you don't know if you're afoot or on horseback.

For me, this one is not knowing whether you're Arthur or Martha.

A friend of mine says "I don't know if I've found a rope or lost a horse!".  She works with horses so maybe it's a "horse person" thing.
Follow along on my house hunt!  http://ulfrslady.livejournal.com/

Shea

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4111
Re: When A Common Phrase Isn't....
« Reply #46 on: August 09, 2010, 05:39:38 PM »
I once worked on a guest ranch where one of the wranglers was from Eastern Europe. His English was quite good but he had a tendency to either make up idioms on the spot or translate them from his native Russian, which often left us native English speakers with blank looks. My favorite was the time we were trying to make one of the donkeys go back into the corral from which it had cleverly escaped. The donkey refused to move no matter what we did, so finally he dropped the lead rope, threw up his hands and said, "I give up! He is too donkey!". The rest of the time we were there, all the staff referred to stubborn things as "donkey".


If a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, librarians are a global threat.

guihong

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6590
Re: When A Common Phrase Isn't....
« Reply #47 on: August 09, 2010, 05:58:09 PM »
When I was in school, I befriended a graduate student from eastern Europe.  She once asked how I was, and I told her I had a monkey on my back.  She looked at my back in a puzzled way.  I had to explain it meant I was worried or concerned about something.

gui



nutraxfornerves

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2027
Re: When A Common Phrase Isn't....
« Reply #48 on: August 09, 2010, 06:03:23 PM »
When I was in school, I befriended a graduate student from eastern Europe.  She once asked how I was, and I told her I had a monkey on my back.  She looked at my back in a puzzled way.  I had to explain it meant I was worried or concerned about something.
Jus goes to show how phrases can have different meanings. I'd be very alarmed if a friend told me "I have a monkey on my back," because to me it means a drug addiction, especially to something serious like heroin.

Nutrax
The plural of anecdote is not data

high dudgeon

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3935
Re: When A Common Phrase Isn't....
« Reply #49 on: August 09, 2010, 06:20:01 PM »
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've heard British tv characters use it and the meaning is quite clear. But I have no idea where the expression came from. What's wrong with pears or with being pear shaped? What shape is it good to be?

hobish

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 18187
  • Release the gelfling!
Re: When A Common Phrase Isn't....
« Reply #50 on: August 09, 2010, 06:23:27 PM »
When I was in school, I befriended a graduate student from eastern Europe.  She once asked how I was, and I told her I had a monkey on my back.  She looked at my back in a puzzled way.  I had to explain it meant I was worried or concerned about something.
Jus goes to show how phrases can have different meanings. I'd be very alarmed if a friend told me "I have a monkey on my back," because to me it means a drug addiction, especially to something serious like heroin.

That is what I would have thought, too.
It's alright, man. I'm only bleeding, man. Stay hungry, stay free, and do the best you can.
~Gaslight Anthem

high dudgeon

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3935
Re: When A Common Phrase Isn't....
« Reply #51 on: August 09, 2010, 06:28:25 PM »
Regarding the "monkey on my back" expression, it does have addiction connotations to me too, but not necessarily serious ones. The "monkey" could just as easily be cigarettes, caffeine or book buying, not necessarily heroin. Never heard it used in a non-addiction context before.

Rosgrana

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 224
Re: When A Common Phrase Isn't....
« Reply #52 on: August 09, 2010, 06:29:06 PM »
I once used the phrase "...may all his rabbits die!" about someone, and then spent ages explaining to an ESOL speaker that, no, AFAIK he didn't actually have any rabbits, that no, I didn't really wish harm to him or any livestock he owned, and that it was simply a humorous way of expressing envy of a piece of good fortune he'd had.

Ever after, whenever I mentioned him, she would say, "Ah yes, Herbert. He is the one who has no rabbits, yes?"

Elfmama

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6229
Re: When A Common Phrase Isn't....
« Reply #53 on: August 09, 2010, 06:50:58 PM »
Now, you see, I would have thought that "may all of his rabbits die" meant "may ALL of his girlfriends announce his impending fatherhood at once!"
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
It's true. Money can't buy happiness.  You have to turn it
into books first.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

guihong

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6590
Re: When A Common Phrase Isn't....
« Reply #54 on: August 09, 2010, 07:02:41 PM »
It wasn't until this thread that I learned that "monkey on my back" had anything to do with addiction.  Maybe some expressions are regional in a large country.



Squeaks

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5026
Re: When A Common Phrase Isn't....
« Reply #55 on: August 09, 2010, 07:04:55 PM »
Now, you see, I would have thought that "may all of his rabbits die" meant "may ALL of his girlfriends announce his impending fatherhood at once!"

Yeah that is the meaning i was familiar with.

If i had know it was about jealousy i have thought they were wishing them fertility and lots of kids.

So wanna see "my all your rabbits die" pop up as a bad wedding toast  >:D

DangerMouth

  • Work as if you were in the early days of a better nation.
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 7482
  • Everybody Gets Ice Cream!
Re: When A Common Phrase Isn't....
« Reply #56 on: August 09, 2010, 07:43:20 PM »
Now, you see, I would have thought that "may all of his rabbits die" meant "may ALL of his girlfriends announce his impending fatherhood at once!"

Yeah that is the meaning i was familiar with.

If i had know it was about jealousy i have thought they were wishing them fertility and lots of kids.

So wanna see "my all your rabbits die" pop up as a bad wedding toast  >:D

Well, now it would be "may all your sticks turn blue" ;P

Corvid

  • Etiquette Hell Thread Assassin Squad
  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 886
Re: When A Common Phrase Isn't....
« Reply #57 on: August 09, 2010, 08:36:04 PM »
Quote
one of those nights where you want to choke anyone who sneers that night shift nurses have it easier than day shift.

What idiot thinks that?

I think kittycorner is an offshoot of cattycorner (kitty=cat), but the word is actually catercorner, which I believe is French.

I have no idea why I know that.  I'm a font of useless information.

3grey

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 215
Re: When A Common Phrase Isn't....
« Reply #58 on: August 09, 2010, 10:24:10 PM »


I've certainly received some odd looks when I use a saying of my grandmother's when she was very hungry, "My stomach thinks my throat's been cut! "

And my Mom's, "Round Robin Hood's barn" to mean the long way round or the "scenic" route.


Let's see, and most people have no idea what I'm talking about if I mention the car went into the borrow pit,   -   the ditch at the side of the road.   It's old mining lingo.


                                 3grey





girlysprite

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1004
  • I like big books, and I cannot lie
Re: When A Common Phrase Isn't....
« Reply #59 on: August 10, 2010, 01:34:00 AM »
Outdoor Girl, I love those.  Well, I will, after this coke is off the keyboard... ;D

And another fine example for me ;) Where I come from, the drink is called 'Cola'. Coke is that white powder. So sometimes I have to translate a bit when people comment like 'snorts coke through her nose'. Or in your case...yeah  ::). No, I know you mean the drink!  ;)