You can’t teach an old dog new tricks! Part One

Hi there!

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-

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, provides detailed definitions of idioms:

  1. 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.
  2. The specific grammatical, syntactic, and structural character of a given language.
  3. Regional speech or dialect.
  4. A specialized vocabulary used by a group of people; jargon: legal idiom.
  5. 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

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!

Take Care,



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