Bees' Knees and Barmy Armies: Origins of the Words and Phrases We Use Every Day

By Harry Oliver

From stiff higher lip to stomping grounds, an fun examine the heritage in the back of commonly-used phrases and phrases


What makes somebody "pleased as punch?" Why is ny urban referred to as "The titanic Apple?" Why will we "dress to the nines?"And what does it suggest to flee by way of the "skin of your teeth?" each day speech is peppered with 1000's of words and expressions, yet not often are their origins reflected. This interesting survey delves deep into the heritage in the back of 1000's of universal phrases and turns of word and uncovers their attention-grabbing and a laugh assets. From historical idioms to up-to-the minute lingo, this can be the proper source for etymologists and language-lovers alike.

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Gung Ho that means very keen, zealous or enthusiastic, a ‘gung ho procedure’ is anything we have a tendency to examine quite bullish and unwise. The adjective derives from the chinese language kung ho, desiring to interact, and through the second one global warfare it was once embraced through usa’ Marines or even turned the motto of ‘Carlson’s Raiders,’ the nickname for a guerrilla unit of infantrymen serving within the Pacific sector below common Evans Carlson. The word unfold through the Marines, and into wider American society with the discharge in 1943 of the battle movie Gung  Ho! , which instructed the tale of Carlson’s Raiders. It used to be Carlson’s occasionally irresponsible and careless strategy that resulted in the word getting used mockingly and negatively. Hit the floor working We use this upbeat word to suggest a handy guide a rough and winning begin to an occasion or firm. It’s usually acknowledged that the word originated in both the 1st or the second one global conflict. the tale is going that, on the way to organize them for the realities of wrestle, trainee infantrymen will be ordered to ‘hit the floor working’ after they have been vacationing at pace even if on a tank, boat or plane. this can be actual, however the expression existed years ahead of both of the 2 international wars. via the overdue 1800s it used to be utilized in a literal experience in American civilian lifestyles, and the possibility is that the military borrowed the word since it so aptly describes a necessary army manoeuvre. you'll be able to see how the word got here to be invaluable in today’s fast moving, aggressive international, fairly within the company group. Knock right into a Cocked Hat If anything is ‘knocked right into a cocked hat’, it's ruined and rendered valueless. attainable origins were steered, one much less convincing than the opposite. through the American progressive warfare within the overdue eighteenth century, ‘cocked hats’ have been worn by means of British and American officials. those hats, three-sided and worn with the rim grew to become up, have been continuously going out of form, and their uselessness used to be ridiculed by way of foot squaddies. So, to knock a fellow soldier right into a cocked hat may were to make him useless, to render him unnecessary. It’s a pleasant tale, but whereas it truly is actual that generals wore such foolish hats, there's scant proof word advanced out of this tradition. way more believable is the idea that the expression got here from a bowling online game which stated the hats. Three-cornered Hat used to be a version of ninepin bowls, during which three-corner pins have been organize in a triangle. every one participant had 3 balls in keeping with around, and if the 3 pins remained as soon as the others have been knocked down, the sport was once far and wide, or ‘knocked right into a cocked hat’. persist with Your weapons To ‘stick in your weapons’ is to carry regular on your convictions and never be swayed by means of the perspectives or activities of others. might be unsurprisingly given the connection with weapons, the word comes from army existence, the place the order was once as a rule issued to a bunch of squaddies to carry their flooring or to someone to stick at his put up. initially the expression used to be ‘to stand in your guns’, first recorded within the eighteenth century via Samuel Johnson’s biographer James Boswell, yet through the following century ‘stick in your weapons’ got here to exchange it.

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