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Odd sayings and phrases

Updated on December 13, 2017

What did you just say?

There are certain ways of saying things that leave you wondering how the phrase came into being. They may sound familiar, but when you break things down, they're actually a little strange. So let's look at some odd sayings and phrases.....

Cute as a button. Personally, I don't find buttons that cute. Useful, yes, but cute? No. Nobody says " Cute as a zip fastener," yet that does a similar job, holding things together. One suggestion for the phrase is that it refers to button quails, little extra-fluffy birds. Now, they do sound cute.

Bright as a button. This seems a little less obscure, as there are plenty of shiny buttons available. Never seen one that glows in the dark, mind.

Pretty please. As opposed to ugly please?That probably wouldn't get you very far.

Thanks a bunch. A bunch of what? Bananas? If it's a bunch of thanks, how many are in a bunch?

Thanks a million. That's surely more than a bunch. Seems a little excessive. How about, thanks a dozen.

You're more than welcome. What does that mean? Hyper-mega welcome? Welcome and a half?

Bless her cotton socks.
Bless her cotton socks. | Source

Bless her cotton socks. Often said of someone who's cute as a button, or who has done something sweet, or elicits sympathy. Generally an " Aah!" moment.

Some people attribute the saying to a Bishop George Cotton in the 1800s, who encouraged donations of clothing, socks in particular, to children in India. He would bless the clothes before they were distributed. So, Cotton's socks were blessed.

Pretty as a picture. There are plenty of pictures that are not pretty.So how do you know if someone's being sarcastic when they say that? Maybe ask, " A picture of what, exactly?"

"He's got you over a barrel." As in, exactly where he wants you. This stems from days of old, tying a ne'er-do-well over a barrel so he couldn't move while being lashed. Ouchy.

Happy as Larry Larry must have been one happy guy. The man in question is thought to have been old-time Australian boxer, Larry Foley, who never lost a fight, and won plenty of money.

It'll all come out in the wash Meaning, things will work out in the end, truth will out. Perhaps a reference to coming clean, or returning things to their former state. Presumably not said by someone who put a red T-shirt in the white wash by mistake.

Sick as a parrot
Sick as a parrot | Source

Sick as a parrot Oddly this phrase doesn't refer to illness, but to being disappointed. It's possible origins are somewhat varied, including the rather unlikely referrence to smuggled parrots being given tequila to keep them quiet while passing border patrols. Imagine a parrot with a hangover - bless his cotton socks. Maybe he was disappointed not to get more tequila.

Many a mickle makes a muckle. The gist here is that little things add up to become something larger. The fault in this phrase is that mickle and muckle both mean " large amount."

You've put your foot in it. As in, made a boo-boo. If you put your foot in your mouth, that means you said the wrong thing. Don't worry too much, nobody will understand, you're speaking with your mouth full. It'll all come out in the wash.

The cat's whiskers. Also, the cat's pyjamas. This means, the bee's knees, or the dog's....never mind. Nearly put my foot in it.

The cat's whiskers.
The cat's whiskers. | Source

At the end of the day......

When all's said and done, hopefully these odd sayings and phrases will be clearer to you now. My thanks for reading. How many thanks? A mickle or a muckle.


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