Saturday, January 31

Famous Saying That Come From Britain

Interesting or what? Thanks, Peter :)

EATING HUMBLE PIE: Servants ate "umble pie" which was made from deer waste while their Master and his guests had the better cuts of meat.

TURN THE TABLES: Tables only had one finished side. The other side, less expensive to make, was more rough. When the family was alone, they ate on the rough side to keep the good side nice for company. When company came, the whole top lifted off and was turned to its good side.

RULE OF THUMB: An old English law declared that a man could not beat his wife with a stick any larger than the diameter of his thumb.

SLEEP TIGHT: The bed frames were strung with ropes on which straw mattresses were placed. After some time the ropes would loosen and one of the young men would pull them tight.

TIE THE KNOT: Tying the knot of the ropes in the marriage bed.

HONEYMOON: It was the accepted practise in Babylonia 4,000 years ago that for a month after the wedding, the bride's father would supply his son-in-law with all the mead he could drink. Mead is a honey beer, and because their calendar was lunar based, this period was called the "honey month" or what we know today as the "honeymoon".

THE CLINK: The name of a prison which was on Clink Street in the Southwark area of London.

SON OF A GUN: After sailors had crossed the Atlantic to the West Indies, they would take the native women on board the ship and have their way with them in between the cannons. Some of the women the sailors left behind would have boys, who were called sons between the guns.

DONE TO A TURN: Meat was roasted until cooked on an upright spit which had to be turned by hand.

BEAT AROUND THE BUSH: Game birds were scared out of their hiding places under bushes and then killed.

CUT THROUGH THE RED TAPE: Solicitors kept their clients papers in a file folder tied with red ribbon to prevent the papers from falling out. Of course, when they wanted to get at the papers, they would have to cut through the red tape.

MINDING YOUR Ps & Qs: Ale was served at local taverns out of a "tankard" ... you were charged by the angle of your elbow ... half-way up... you drank a pint, all the way up... you drank a quart. Since the Quart cost so much more than the Pint, you were warned to "Mind your Ps & Qs"

GETTING TANKED: When you drank too much out of the above "tankard" you were said to be "tanked" ... if you got so "tanked" that you passed out, there was a chance that somebody might think you had actually died. Since back then they didn't have experience with taking pulses, they often buried people alive who were actually in a drunken stupor or otherwise comatose.

WET YOUR WHISTLE: Many years ago in England, pub frequenters had a whistle baked into the rim or handle of their ceramic cups. When they needed a refill, they used to blow the whistle to get some service.

SAVED BY THE BELL: When our ancestors realised that they were burying a great deal of people before their time had actually come, they came up with a solution. They tied a string onto the "dead" person's hand, buried them, and tied the other end of the string to a bell and then tied it to nearby tree branch. If the person revived enough to ring the bell, their survivors would rush out and dig them up. Hence... "saved by the bell"

CHEW THE FAT: A host would offer his guests a piece of bacon, which was stored above the fireplace in the parlour, so they could chew the fat during their visit.

GETTING THE SHORT END OF THE STICK: Candles were expensive to make, so often reeds were dipped in tallow and burned instead. When visitors came, it was the custom for guests to make their exit by the time the lights went out. Therefore, if your host didn't want you to stay very long, he would give you a "short stick."

GIVING SOMEONE THE COLD SHOULDER: When a guests would over stay their welcome as house guests, the hosts would (instead of feeding them good, warm meals) give their too-long staying guests the worst part of the animal, not warmed, but the COLD SHOULDER.

FROG IN YOUR THROAT: Medieval physicians believed that the secretions of a frog could cure a cough if they were coated on the throat of the patient. The frog was placed in the mouth of the sufferer and remained there until the physician decided that the treatment was complete.

1 comment:

Elaine Saunders - Complete Text said...

Whilst writing my book about pub history I discovered that “Mind your Ps and Qs” might also be another kind of warning. When landlords chalked pints and quarts up “on the slate” they weren’t averse to adding a few extra marks. It’s therefore a warning to customers to watch the bill.

Instead of chalking up on the slate, London Market porters had their drinks marked on a strip of leather or tab, hence “running a tab”. It’s also said to give us the expression “strapped for cash”
Elaine Saunders
Author: A Book About Pub Names
Complete Text
It’s A Book About….blog