Sunday, April 08, 2018

Let sleeping dogs lie …

I love catch phrases and it's fun to find where they originated.  “Let sleeping dogs lie” aptly describes this picture. It is a phrase believed to have been originated by Chaucer around 1380 in Troilus and Criseyde, 'It is nought good a slepyng hound to wake'... meaning that one shouldn't stir up a potentially difficult situation when it's best left alone

Then there’s “it’s a piece of cake” meaning that it would be an easy task...but, where did that saying originate? I tried to find the answer but there were many conflicting opinions. It was often paired with “easy as pie” and I was amused to read that many women said it must have been coined by a male since “there’s nothing easy about making a pie...or a cake, for that matter.”

Then there is our plain-speaking US President Harry S. Truman.

He is credited with two phrases that have stood the test of time (since 1949). They are: “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen” which he often would say to his staff, and: “The buck stops here.” He did not originate the later but had a sign to that effect on his desk for his stint as President so he is usually thought to have coined it.

And, of course, when our carefully prepared plans go wrong we are quick to shrug our shoulders and say: “The best laid schemes of mice and men often go astray”. This can be traced directly to a Robert Burns’ poem entitled “To A Mouse, 1786”. He had upturned a mouse’s nest while plowing a field and the poem is his apology to the mouse !

Well, I could go on forever but they say that “brevity is the soul of wit” (Shakespeare's
Hamlet, 1602) so I’ll call it quits and see what you guys come up with !!


Blogger Anvilcloud said...

This was a fun little read, especially going back to Chaucer. I wonder if he coined that phrase or if it was already around and he just used it. I think we know that Shakespeare coined many phrases.

4:32 AM  
Blogger Marie Smith said...

Loved this post, Ginnie. Wish I had something to offer. Alas...

9:17 AM  
Blogger Arkansas Patti said...

I knew some of these but not the one about Robert Bruce. What a kind man but then he got me over my fear of spiders so I all ready owe him.

12:39 PM  
Blogger Beatrice P. Boyd said...

This was an amusing and informative post, Ginnie, and to reply to you end comment about other phrases. Here's a couple for you, "butter wouldn't melt in his mouth" and a personal favorite that I learned about when living in VA "b;ess his heart" which usually was more of an insult than praise, but said nicer.

9:33 AM  
Blogger troutbirder said...

Oh you set me off thinking about my Dad and all this saying. On he repeated often was something about Carters Little Liver Pills but I don't remember it exactly....

4:51 PM  

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