10 Common Sayings And Their Strange Origins

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The English language has a lot of funny words and sayings that we use every day, but do you ever wonder how they came to be? Well, you're not alone and just as you've already suspected, they all have interesting and at times strange histories.

Here are 10 common sayings and their weird origin stories:

1. Kick the bucket


Meaning: To die

Origin: Most entomologists argue that the saying dates back to the 16th century. Although its origin isn't clear, it is believed that it relates to suicides where the person would stand on a bucket with a noose around their neck then kick away the bucket when they're ready.

2. Bite the bullet


Meaning: To endure a painful situation

Origin: Back when medicine wasn't as advanced, surgeons in the army didn't have the time to administer anesthesia before performing emergency procedures on wounded soldiers. Instead, they made patients bite down on a bullet to help distract them from the pain.

3. Sleep tight

Meaning: To sleep well

Origin: In the Shakespearean era, mattresses had to be tied to the bed frame to ensure they're sturdy. The tighter one pulled on the ropes, the firmer the mattress would be.

4. Blood is thicker than water

Tabinda B@ri/Flickr

Meaning: Family comes first

Origin: While it is used to refer to family being above everything else, the saying's true meaning is actually based on a shortened Bible verse that says, “The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb.” about "blood brothers" who fought together in wars. It dates back to an ancient Middle Eastern culture where warriors were thought to have a stronger bond than biological brothers because of the blood they've shed together in battle.

5. Rule of thumb

Meaning: A general guide

Origin: It is believed that saying came from carpenter, tailors and other professionals using their thumbs to take measurements of objects. Another claim says that "rule of thumb" actually refers to a 17th Century English judge Sir Francis Buller giving a husband permission to beat his wife as long as the stick was no wider than his thumb.

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