Origin of cliches and weird sayings revealed

Jun 06, 2013, 11:39 IST | ANI

Have you ever wondered where those weird sayings or cliches we use every day come from

Some of them are as old as the hills, while new words and phrases creep into common speech and become flavour of the month.

New book ‘Spilling the Beans on the Cat’s Pyjamas’ reveals the origins and meanings of some of the most popular and obscure sayings that we use everyday, the Mirror reported.

One of these saying is “Cat got your tongue?” which is a way of asking someone why they are silent.

There are several theories to the origins of this phrase.

Some argue that it stems from Middle Eastern punishment techniques when liars’ tongues were ripped out and then fed to the kings’ cats, while others suggest it refers to the cat-o-nine-tails that was used to flog sailors and force them into silence.

Another is “flavour of the month.” This is an American advertising phrase from the 1940s attempting to persuade shoppers to buy a different flavour of ice cream each month instead of sticking to their usual choice.

Now it is used to describe any short-lived craze, fashion or person that is quickly dropped after a time of being in demand.

The other one is “Hair of the Dog.”

We have all tried the hangover cure of having another drink the morning after the night before, with the idea being that like cures like.

It is thought the phrase originates in the 16th century when if you were bitten by a rabid dog, it was accepted medical practice to dress the would with the burnt hair of that dog as an antidote.

Amazingly, this cure was recommended for dog bites for about 200 years before its effectiveness was doubted.

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