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Flowers in English Expressions and Sayings
An English Garden
As you know, English is full of colloquial expression and metaphors
English speaking people seem almost to absorb these from the time they learn to speak, but they must present quite a learning problem for people learning English as a second language.
I love the various nuances of English language, and have taken it upon myself to write several web pages breaking down these expressions and sayings into groups, such as Flowers, Animals of various types, Colours, and even Boundaries. They are enjoyable reminders for native English speakers, and , with the pictures, are a useful way of memorising a whole new bunch of expressions, including proverbs and common quotations.
Flowers and gardening have been such a popular subject through the ages that I thought there would be far more flower sayings and metaphors than I have actually managed to produce here, which very much surprised me.
There are also quite a lot of English expressions about trees and nature, which perhaps calls for me to make another hub about them. As you will see, I am a keen photographer, and I can certainly produce plenty of tree pictures too.
See how many of these you know.
Gilding the Lily
1. Gilding the Lily
Gilding the Lily means trying to improve something which is already perfect
e.g. “I’ve made a delicious banana bread cake, and now I’m going to try it with icing” – “ No, don’t do that, it’s just gilding the lily”.
There are several fairly similar expressions relating to roses, but I have mentioned them separately, because they are all in use
A Rose by any other name still smells as sweet
2. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet –
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet – means that the name of something does not affect its nature or essence. The expression, which comes from Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet, is often shortened to A rose by any other name.
e.g. “an ideological activist (such as Nelson Mandela) may be called a freedom fighter or a terrorist, depending on your point of view, but the fact that he was essentially an activist is indisputable – a rose by any other name.”
Below is an extract from Romeo and Juliet, to show you the context. For those who don’t know the story, Romeo and Juliet fell in love although they belonged to warring families, the Montagues and the Capulets and it all ended tragically.
'Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What's Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself.
Act II, Scene II
To Come up Roses
3. To come up roses
To come up roses means to have a successful or good outcome, especially after a poor start.
E.g. “in spite of term-time difficulties, everything came up roses when the exam results were announced”.
To Come up Smelling of Roses
A Bed of Roses
4. To come up smelling of roses
To come up smelling of roses means to emerge with an untarnished reputation from a problematic situation.
E.g. “After the criminal investigation, he came out smelling of roses”.
5. A bed of roses
A bed of roses – means comfort or luxury and is usually used to describe someone’s life.
E.g. “Her life is not exactly a bed of roses”, meaning she has a difficult time.
A Path Strewn With Roses
6. A path strewn with roses
A path strewn with roses means an easy life
e.g. “when he was young, his path was strewn with roses, but after the war, all that changed.”
7. The primrose path
The primrose path means an easy, pleasurable and possibly dissipated way through life.
E.g. “he trod the primrose path” meaning he succumbed to life’s temptations.
8 A pansy
A pansy - This is a disparaging term for a male who is effeminate or homosexual.
eg “he’s such a pansy” meaning he’s effeminate, a bit of a wimp.
It's not politically correct, and is therefore falling out of use, but, if you come across it, you still need to know what it means, and that it is nowadays considered an inappropriate use of language.
A Shrinking Violet
9 A shrinking violet
A shrinking violet means a shy or timid person.
E.g. “She’s a bit of a shrinking violet, and doesn’t present herself in the best light at interviews”.
10 A wallflower
A wallflower – someone who is left out
e.g. “She was a wallflower at the dance” meaning no-one asked her to dance.
11 Picking Daisies or pushing up the daisies
Picking Daisies or pushing up the daisies – means dead and buried.
E.g. “I haven’t seen Fred lately” – “no, you won’t, because he’s been picking daisies for the last year” meaning he died a year ago.
Fresh as a Daisy
12. Fresh as a Daisy
Fresh as a Daisy – means very fresh
e.g. “she was at an all-night party but still looked as fresh as a daisy next day”.
Let's see how many readers have English as their first language, and how many are still learning English
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Some More English Expressions:
- Ten English Proverbs and Sayings About Birds
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- The English Tongue Twister
English tongue twisters will help students of English as a Second Language to improve their speech. It will also help people who do public speaking, such as actors,barristers,and corporate public speakers. Learning to say tongue twisters is fun
- Ten English Proverbs and Sayings About Eggs
Amusing for English speakers, helpful if you're a student of English, learning to speak English as a second language (ESL), Who would have thought there are so many sayings about Eggs, of all things!