In this, the first of two blogs, I want to share some things that I love about language: figures of speech, phrases and idioms. These sayings are part of our culture, are fascinating and in some cases have surprising origins.
So to begin, let me start with a definition.
‘A figure of speech is just that – figurative language. It might be words with a literal meaning, a certain arrangements of words, or a phrase with a meaning that is something entirely other than that of the words themselves’ – according to the community information sharing website- http://www.enkivillage.com
So now that you know what a figure of speech is, you can:
‘Find common phrases with their meanings and origins – What these popular sayings and idioms mean, and their history…’ See http://www.knowyourphrase.com.
Idioms.thefreedictionary.com, provides detailed definitions of idioms:
- A speech form or an expression of a given language that is peculiar to itself grammatically or cannot be understood from the individual meanings of its elements, as in keep tabs on.
- The specific grammatical, syntactic, and structural character of a given language.
- Regional speech or dialect.
- A specialized vocabulary used by a group of people; jargon: legal idiom.
- A style of artistic expression characteristic of a particular individual, school, period, or medium: the idiom of the French impressionists; the punk rock idiom.
There are so many great phrases to choose from and there are a number of websites that do a good job of informing us. I will only be using are a ‘mere drop in the ocean.’ Sorry, could not resist that one!
Here are a couple of examples that have their origins in The Bible, as defined by http://www.phrase.org.uk:
A fly in the ointment- A small but irritating flaw that spoils the whole. This is taken from Ecclesiastes 10:1 (King James Version):
“Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour so doth a little folly him that in reputation for wisdom and honour.”
In a twinkling of an eye – In an instant. This can be found in:
Robert Manning of Brunne, in Handlyng Synne, 1303: “Yn twynkelyng of an ye”
And Corinthians 15:52 (King James Version):
“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised incorruptible and we shall be changed.”
In have only given you a brief taster, but I hope that you can join me again, when I continue with this thought-provoking subject, and who knows, maybe a few old dogs will learn a few new things from this blog, even if they are not tricks!