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Funny and Weird Phrases and Sayings

Updated on December 9, 2012
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How many words does the average person speak a day? According to one source the average man says about 6000, while the average woman, 18,000. There are other sources. Each one of them has different numbers. (and woman tend to talk more than men) But all prove one thing. We say a lot every day. So it’s no wonder that sometimes we say stuff that makes no sense. I’m not taking about the occasional dumb opinion or misstatement. No, I’m talking about words and phrases that have become part of our language and conversations.

Today, as I took my lunch hour walk, I came upon two woman walking the other way. As I gave them room to pass me, I heard one of them say “he’s going to die laughing when he hears that”. In the context of the entire conversation it likely made sense to the person who heard it. The speaker was only guilty of a little exaggeration, something the listener likely did not even notice. But since I only heard the one sentence, I walked away thinking that while I had heard it a thousand times in conversation I never noticed what a ridiculous statement it was.

To “die laughing” would be quite ironic. And while there are other ways to die that are seemingly worse (not that I have experienced them), I would not want to die like this. I have had belly laughs in the past and frankly if it goes on too long it hurts. To laugh until I die would be excruciating. I know I will die someday. I just hope I am an (otherwise) healthy 103 year old and I just stop breathing in my sleep. It’s ok if I have a smile on my face when I go but no laughing!

I suppose she could have said to her friend “he’s going to get a kick out of it when he hears it’ But that would have been just as ridiculous. I have never seen a person laugh at a funny joke and then kick someone. And when something is funny it is not a riot. I’ve seen riots on TV and they look like real serious things.

Cheesecake "to Die for"
Cheesecake "to Die for" | Source

Taking Death Lightly

It seems in our casual talk, we take death much too lightly. No one ever “died of embarrassment”. Embarrassment is not a pleasant experience. I should know. I’ve experienced it on more occasions than I care to recall and I’m still living. I’m sure medical schools don’t spend too much time teaching cures for it. “Dying of thirst” is another ridiculous idiom. It’s not a pleasant way to go either. When I was researching this Hub, I read what happens when the human body is starved of fluid. Suffice to say that including any details here would destroy the light tone of this column. Not too many people die of thirst. When I think of that my mind goes to the cliché of the man in tatters crawling across the desert in scorching heat. Not the person who has just worked out or eaten salty snacks. And there aren’t too many things that I would consider “to die for”. Maybe country, family or God. But I would have to give some serious thought to them. I’m sorry, no matter how good the cheesecake is, I’m not even considering it. If you’re “freezing to death”, put on a sweater.


I'm Starving

But my pet peeve is the idiom, “I‘m starving“. I found myself using this phase a lot a few years ago and I realized how ridiculous it is. I’m not starving! I am a well fed (read fat!) American who hasn’t eaten in a few hours! I’m hungry, that’s all.

This is an extremely common saying. I hear this at least two or three times a week from family, friends or co-workers. To be fair, one of the on line dictionaries does list “very hungry” as an informal meaning. No doubt from years of misuse of the term. The same website also lists it as an English colloquialism which means “freezing to death” I supposed it’s misused in England in this way.

One thing these phrases have in common is that they use exaggeration to make their point as do “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse” and “I told you a million times” We know that someone could not eat an entire horse (at least not in one sitting) and if you told someone something once every minute it would take you nearly two years to tell them a million times. People use exaggeration in conversation to get their point across. And it is effective for the most part. It also adds color to the spoken language. I’m not a linguist, and I’m sure many of these terms are accepted as informal uses of the language. Even if they aren’t, I enjoy hearing them.



On Second Thought, Maybe Laughing Can Kill!

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    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 

      6 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      'Plain as pikestaff'(?) No frills on this one, being obvious. A pike was a later mediaeval weapon - up to 17th C - that parted a man from his vitals. The staff was the long shaft of wood used to keep 'thee' as far as possible from 'me', [the longer the better - but within reason: if it's too long you can't hold it up for long before your enemy knows you're knackered even before you brandish it under his nose]. It wasn't adorned (like a sword), that's the point. End of story.

    • Lifes 2nd Chances profile image

      Colleen Lyon 

      6 years ago from Kansas City, Missouri

      Oh my, lol, too funny. :-)

    • billd01603 profile imageAUTHOR

      billd01603 

      6 years ago from Worcester

      Thanks for reading Life. There are many oddities in language and there may be a couple of other Hubs by me in the future on this subject.

      PS Do you know what the plural of "y'all" is? Answer: "all y'all"

    • Lifes 2nd Chances profile image

      Colleen Lyon 

      6 years ago from Kansas City, Missouri

      Very cute hub. I liked the video clip at the end. Where I come from we have quite a collection of odd sayings. When I first moved to the midwest, I laughed everytime I heard quirky local saying, like "you bet" instead of "your welcome" and "you all" ( actually "y'all" ) instead of just you. Now I have to admit that I find I am saying a few of them myself. Thanks for sharing, it was an enjoyable read. C.

    • billd01603 profile imageAUTHOR

      billd01603 

      6 years ago from Worcester

      Funny comment. Thanks i needed that today

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 

      6 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      If you want a good laugh get a book titled 'YORKSHIRE'S YAMMER' by Peter Wright about Yorkshire dialect, published by Dalesman 1999, ISBN 1 85568 077 7. for instance on p8: 'Yattoners'll wade ower t'beck to save t'brig' - means folk from Great Ayton (North Yorkshire) would wade across the beck (the River Leven) to save [wear on] the bridge. This is one about how tight-fisted Yorkshiremen are - I should know, mind you I'm not THAT bad!.

    • billd01603 profile imageAUTHOR

      billd01603 

      6 years ago from Worcester

      Alancaster, I checked out the meaning of "pleased as punch". It's a reference to "Punch and Judy". Check it out on Wikipedia.

    • billd01603 profile imageAUTHOR

      billd01603 

      6 years ago from Worcester

      Alancaster- Thanks for your comments. I enjoyed them. It's interesting to hear terms from another country. "As safe as a crash test dummy" is funny. I knew there were a lot more idioms, and maybe in the future I'll write another Hub about them. Thanks for reading.

    • billd01603 profile imageAUTHOR

      billd01603 

      6 years ago from Worcester

      Literery Geisha Thanks for reading

    • billd01603 profile imageAUTHOR

      billd01603 

      6 years ago from Worcester

      Nettlemere, I only found out "starved" meant cold in the UK, doing the research for this Hub. Thanks for reading. Glad you enjoyed reading it.

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 

      6 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      How about: 'I'm dying for a fag (cigarette)', and 'I could have died...' Mostly these expressions come from this side of the Pond and were 'exported' together with some of our Irish cousins (who got it from us, needless to say). They're fond of 'dying' in Dublin, I gathered when I went over there a while back.

      Then there's: 'I'm whacked out', 'out like a light' and 'spark out' for exhausted.

      'Over the moon' tends to be over-used for 'pleased', more so than 'pleased as punch'. I can't work out if that's 'Punch' as in 'Punch & Judy' or 'punch' as in an alcoholic concoction our betters are fond of swilling in the evening at posh 'do's'.

      There's a new one here these days: 'As safe as a crash dummy' Road safety in Britain ain't what it oughta be!

      I think the old ones are best, though: 'Sober as a judge' (our wig-wearing ones used to be a bit fond of fortified wines - Port, Sherry or Madeira - and were constantly to be found wanting at trials, dozing off in the middle of summing up after slurping Port. Most of those who stood before them in the dock were from the lower orders anyway, so why worry?) Then many of the judges came from aristocratic families who sported big noses, so the expression came about: 'Up before the Beak'.

    • chuckandus6 profile image

      Nichol marie 

      6 years ago from The Country-Side

      LOL yeah i thought of the same thing when my son said he was "bored out of his mind"

      cute hub

      voted up

    • Literary Geisha profile image

      Literary Geisha 

      6 years ago from Philippines

      nice hub! didn't die laughing, but you got me "grinning from ear to ear" - if you don't think that's another weird thing. :)

    • Nettlemere profile image

      Nettlemere 

      6 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      I enjoyed your commentary on the weird things we say and thought you might be interested to know that the use of starved meaning cold in the UK is mainly confined to the North of England, especially Yorkshire and is derived from the Anglo-Saxon ‘steorfan’ which means suffering greatly.

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