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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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    • innerspin profile image

      Kim Kennedy 4 years ago from uk

      i scribble thanks, I began thinking about this as a foreign doctor at work asked the meaning of some English sayings. Hats off to him for learning so much.

    • i scribble profile image

      i scribble 4 years ago

      Love your funny interpretations on a subject that interests me. I just expected explanations, the humor is an unexpected bonus! Some of these are unfamiliar to me as an American.

    • innerspin profile image

      Kim Kennedy 5 years ago from uk

      Thanks for commenting, PaoloJpm, glad you found it interesting.

    • PaoloJpm profile image

      John Paolo B.Magdaluyo 5 years ago from Philippine

      haha, this is so cool! anyway, interesting since its literal meaning differs in a way.

    • innerspin profile image

      Kim Kennedy 5 years ago from uk

      Hi, kj force, good to see you. I find it fascinating how we use these phrases as a matter of course. Thanks for the comment.

    • kj force profile image

      kjforce 5 years ago from Florida

      innerspin..loved the hub..there are so many of these quotes out there..some make sense and some.. DUH not..but now that you cleared the way " I'm as happy as a pig in mud "... sharp as a tack".." don't spill the beans "..thanks for sharing..very interesting subject

    • innerspin profile image

      Kim Kennedy 5 years ago from uk

      Thanks for commenting, Perspycacious, it's all grist to the mill.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 5 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Just think, if I come back in the next life as a cat, my new life will be on paws! You have collected a batch of idioms worthy of studying "On second thought... ."

    • innerspin profile image

      Kim Kennedy 5 years ago from uk

      There you go, mary615, your next hub idea! I'd certainly read it. Thanks for popping along and commenting.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 5 years ago from Florida

      We Southern folks have so many of these odd sayings! No one knows where they came from; we just say them. So silly...

      Cute Hub. I voted it UP.

    • innerspin profile image

      Kim Kennedy 5 years ago from uk

      Thanks, Nell, my mind sometimes works in mysterious ways.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      Lol! brilliant! thanks a bunch! of bananas? voted up! nell

    • innerspin profile image

      Kim Kennedy 5 years ago from uk

      You're more than welcome, sweethearts2, lovely to read your comment.

    • sweethearts2 profile image

      sweethearts2 5 years ago from Northwest Indiana

      Thanks a million. The cat's meow. Enjoyable hub. Voted up