Here are 5 popular sayings in this idioms lessons segment…
1) As cool as a cucumber – Very calm and unaffected by whatever is being said or done. Why a cucumber? Because they are cool to the touch and taste.
First used in 1732 by John Gay in his poetry”:
“I … cool as a cucumber could see The rest of womankind.”
DESPITE THE DANGERS OF THE MISSION, THE SPY WAS AS COOL AS A CUCUMBER AND CARRIED OUT HIS SECRET TASKS SUCCESSFULLY.
2) Crying wolf – comes from an old story, of the boy who cried wolf meaning to raise a false alarm.
A boy watched sheep at night and look out for wolves. He was bored and decided to play a trick on the villagers. He shouted, “WOLF! WOLF!”. The villagers came running but there wasn’t any wolf to be seen.
The next night, the boy played the same trick again.
This time the villagers were suspicious of the boy’s story about the wolf. Once again they returned to their homes.
On the third night, a wolf really came and the boy cried out,”WOLF! WOLF!” but this time nobody came to his rescue. So the wolf killed the boy.
When a person is warned ‘not to cry wolf’, it means stop raising false alarms.
EMILY CRIED WOLF TOO MANY TIMES, THAT WHEN SHE REALLY NEEDED HELP, NOBODY CAME TO HER RESCUE.
3) Beat around the bush – not getting straight to the point but coming to it in a roundabout way.
First reference, in 1440. Hunting reference, when beaters used to beat around bushes to get the birds hidden there to emerge, so that they could catch them. This is considered a slower way to capture the birds( beating around the bush) than just catching them straight out.
THE BOY WAS AFRAID TO ASK FOR A NEW TOY, SO HE BEAT AROUND THE BUSH IN ASKING HIS MOTHER TO BUY HIM O4) Every cloud has a silver lining– Even terrible situations have something positive in them : a dark cloud when the sun shines behind it, will appear to be edged in light. First appeared in 1634, Milton’s Comus: A Mask Presented At Ludlow Castle:
“…I did not err; there does a sable cloud
Turn forth her silver lining on the night…”
CHEER UP! THINGS AREN’T AS BAD AS THEY SEEM. REMEMBER, EVERY CLOUD HAS A SILVER LINING.
5) Crying over spilt milk– Pointless being upset over something that has already happened.
As early as 1659 James Howell was listing ‘no weeping for shed milk’. The basis of it is that spilled milk cannot be gathered up and put back in the container.