Some Old Expressions - Some Still Used
"Being a dog in the manger" - You don't want it yourself but you don't want anyone else to have it.
"Cutting off your nose to spite your face" - Saying "no" to something that you really would like, just because.......
"Wearing out your shoe leather" - Walking a lot.
"Take the bull by the horns" - Just do it!
"What's good for the goose is good for the gander" - What she can say when 'he' says something to 'her'.
"Don't put all of your eggs in one basket" - Don't depend on any one thing.
"Make hay while the sun shines" - Do it while you have the opportunity.
"I'm not broke. I'm just badly bent" - Only a penny in her purse.
"Try sleeping on your back" When someone complains that they can't sleep on an empty stomach.
"Pshaw" - The old timers said this rather than 'darn'
"If that's supper, roll on breakfast" - A reply to "Did you enjoy supper?"
"I didn't know they piled it that high" - A remark when seeing a really tall child.
"Penny wise and pound foolish" - Someone who pinches pennies and then squanders the dollars.
"Look after the pennies and the dollars will look after themselves" - Save your pennies and you will have dollars.
"A penny for your thoughts" - Said to someone being unusually quiet.
"Get behind me Satan - but don't push too hard" - Wanting to do something but feeling guilty about it.
"Small fry" - Children.
"You'll have your head in your hands to play with" - Threat to someone wanting to do something you disapprove of.
"Old man Can't is dead and he left a little boy named Try" - Never say can't.
"Handle that with kid gloves" - Be careful and/or be kind.
"My sufficiency is suffonsified; any more would be double superfluency" - I'm full!
"Poor wee lamb" - This was what some old ladies said when they saw a baby.
"Well, you just take a run around your collar and slide down your tie!" Ladies' comment to smart alec guy comments.
"Children should be seen and not heard" - Speak only when spoken to.
"Up the wooden hill" - Upstairs to bed.
"More hurry, less speed" - The more you try to hurry, the slower it goes.
"Take the bitter with the better" - You have to take some bad along with the good.
"Get your skates on" - Hurry up!
"Six of one - half-dozen of the other" - One is the same as the other.
"It's as broad as it is long" - It's the same thing.
"Don't bite off more than you can chew" - Don't take on more than you can handle.
"Waste not, want not" - If you don't waste, you will not go hungry.
"Scratch the mad spot" - Remark you make when you think someone is angry with you unjustly.
"Button your lip" - Be quiet.
"My stomach thinks my throat's cut" - I'm hungry.
"I'm pulling your leg" - I'm teasing you.
"Necessity is the mother of invention" - Really needing something has led us to many good solutions.
"There's a long drink of water" - Remark made when seeing a really tall person.
"A galloping horse wouldn't see it and a blind man would be glad to" - Something to think about when you worry about a small flaw.
"Slower than molasses in January" - Now that is SLOW.
"A watched pot never boils" - The more you watch for something to happen, the slower it seems to take.
"Put that in your pipe and smoke it!" - Remark made, emphatically, when you were trying to get a point across.
"A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" - It is better to take one dollar than wait a long while, hoping for two or more.
"Chewing the fat" - Talking.
"Use elbow grease" - Scrub really hard.
"Keeps a stiff upper lip" - Doesn't complain.
"The quickest way to double your money is to fold it and put it in your purse."
"I don't chew my cabbage twice." - Said when the person does not intend to repeat themselves.
"Adam's ale" - Water.
"Their right hand doesn't know what their left hand is doing" - When a company or person continually makes mistakes.
"He couldn't chew gum and walk at the same time!" - Meaning one who repeatedly gives excuses for not following instructions.
"I feel as busy as a one-armed paper-hanger with the hives" - I have "too many irons in the fire". (Oops! I guess that is another old saying.)
"Isn't 'that' a fine kettle of fish!" - Not what was expected.
"Picking up the pieces" - Starting over.
"Bending over backwards" - Nothing to do with aerobics - it means trying your best to do something.
"Jumping on the bandwagon" - Joining in.
"Eating crow" - Not a new fowl recipe; means apologizing and taking back what you have said that turned out to be wrong.
"Tooting your own horn" - Nothing to do with a band. Means bragging.
"Adding fuel to the fire" - Nothing to do with your fireplace. Means to keep a disagreement of some kind going - usually intentionally.
"I'll be a monkey's uncle!" - I'll be darned!
"Stir their stumps!" - Hurry them up!
"You cant make a silk purse from a sow's ear." - You cannot make something beautiful without the right materials to work with.
"Take the bull by the horns." - Just tackle the problem!
"A new broom sweeps clean." - New things and sometimes relationships usually look great at first.
"There's more than one way to skin a cat." - There is always more than one way to handle something you are unsure of.
"Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without." -This was quite appropriate in the 'olden' days - at least in many families.
"Take that with a grain of salt." - Don't be upset about it.
"A lick and a promise." - A little dusting today and a promise to do better tomorrow.
"Out yonder." -"Outside, perhaps in the back field."
"So mad I could spit hot water." - Very angry!
"Chew the fat." - Talk.
"Wet your whistle" - Have a drink. (It would mean water, tea, juice, gingerale)
"Don't burn the candle at both ends." - Don't work day 'and' night; you need 'some' sleep.
"Mind your P's and Q's!" - Don't be nosy!
"Not half bad!" - Good!
"Take the whole kit and kaboodle!" - Take it all.
"Keep your shirt on!" - Wait a minute!
"Don't cut off your nose to spite your face! " - Don't say "no" to something you would like because you are stubborn.
"Beggars can't be choosers." - Be happy with what you can afford.
"Don't look a gift horse in the mouth." - What do you expect for nothing.
"My stars and garters!" - Just another way of expressing surprise.
"That's really the Cat's pajamas." - Cool!
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"
"Let's get this show on the road!" - Let's get on with it!
"The better the day the better the deed." - An expression used when someone had to do something on Sunday that they ordinarily wouldn't.
"A man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still." - Your opinion cannot be forced on anyone.
"Putting your foot in your mouth." - Saying the wrong thing!
"I was knee-high to a grasshopper." - I was very young.
"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." - Take care of things as you use them and prevent needing a major repair or replacement.
"You hit the nail on the head." - You are right on.
"Don't buy a pig in a poke" - Don't buy just anything. Choose wisely.
"Rob Peter to pay Paul" - Borrow from one place in your budget to pay something else for which you don't have enough money.
"Do you mind?" - Do you remember?
"A Bone to Pick" - Someone wants to discuss a disagreement.
"A bad apple" - One corrupt person can cause all the others to go bad if you don't rmove the one.
"Bad Egg" - Someone who was not a good person.
"Been through the mill" - Had a rough time of it.
"At sea" - Lost or not understanding something.
"Bee in your bonnet" - To have an idea that won't let loose.
"Between hay and grass" - Not a child or an adult.
"Calaboose" - A jail.
"Hold your horses" - Be patient.
"I reckon" - I suppose.
"Jawing" - Talking.
"Lower than a snake's belly" - An unprincipled person.
"Madder than a wet hen" - Really angry.
"Pert-near" - Pretty near.
"Scarce as hen's teeth" - Something difficult to obtain.
"Skedaddle" - Get out of here quickly!
"Sparking" - Courting.
"Sunday go to meetin' dress" - The best dress you had.
"Straight from the Horse's Mouth" - Privileged information from the one concerned.
"Wearing your best bib and tucker" - Being all dressed up.
Some Old Expressions - Some Still Used
Published: September 5, 2015, 4:25 pm
Some Old Expressions - Some Still Used