Old sayings and their meanings

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Old sayings and their meanings

Postby TeresaFoodie » September 4th, 2019, 12:16 pm

'Silence reigned and we all got wet'

:shock:

My dad popped this into a text to me yesterday. I asked him what this meant as I had never heard it before. He said his mother used to say it a lot whenever it went quiet in a room full of people. He said she was full of this type of saying, most of which he cannot remember now.

It got me thinking and researching! I found this on the BBC.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-37550178

Most of these I have never heard either.

One I do recall being said at home as a youngster is 'Well, I'll go to the foot of my stairs'. That one still makes no sense to me. 'Well, I'll be a monkey's uncle' - that's another one. 'Hold my hand and call me Charlie' although I think that for young ears this may have been tweaked a little. ;)

I am sure I will remember more....

Have you got any favourites up your sleeve?
Last edited by TeresaFoodie on September 4th, 2019, 10:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Old sayings and their meanings

Postby Herbidacious » September 4th, 2019, 12:54 pm

A friend made up a saying and posted it to a relevant site, as an experiment. Within a few weeks, her saying was being quoted on various sites as an old saying.

Caveat 'emptor'! :)
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Re: Old sayings and their meanings

Postby StokeySue » September 4th, 2019, 12:57 pm

Silence reigns only really works when said aloud so you hear rains I think, and I have heard it though not in years

I hadn’t heard “couldn’t stop a pig in a passage” but in any sport or game where you have to hit something accurately, target shooting, darts, even backgammon people will say “couldn’t hit a bull up an entry” (entry in this case meaning alley), or a variant I only heard this weekend “couldn’t smack a cow on the backside with a banjo”

I was brought up constantly being to,d not to go all round the Wrekin, both literally when selecting a route home from school and figuratively when describing something. Both parents are west midlanders.
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Re: Old sayings and their meanings

Postby Gruney » September 4th, 2019, 1:40 pm

Only recently, it dawned on me what a a couple of sayings I first heard as a child, and never questioned , really mean.

Not enough room to swing a cat. Back to the days of sail, where floggings were carried out with a cat o' nine tails. Nothing at all to do with felines.

He'd be late for his own funeral. Everyone is! - it's one of those homonym things.
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Re: Old sayings and their meanings

Postby Pepper Pig » September 4th, 2019, 1:51 pm

My grandfather used to say “Couldn't stop a pig in a passage” about our Rector who was ancient and very bandy-legged.

My favourite saying from the family was “I don’t know whether I’m on foot or horseback today”. I guess today’s saying for that would be “I don’t know whether I’m coming or going”.
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Re: Old sayings and their meanings

Postby Oat » September 4th, 2019, 3:39 pm

If my Granny was asked what was for dinner/tea she always answered 'three runs round pantry and a bite off the knob' . I have no idea where it came from, But my Granny was Yorkshire through and through. No wonder I grew up strange :lol:
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Re: Old sayings and their meanings

Postby Busybee » September 4th, 2019, 3:41 pm

My Granny, also from Yorkshire when asked the same question would respond “three jumps at the pantry door”

Must be a Yorkshire thing Oat.

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Re: Old sayings and their meanings

Postby Busybee » September 4th, 2019, 3:42 pm

Actually, my Mum says it, and so do I :lol:

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Re: Old sayings and their meanings

Postby Oat » September 4th, 2019, 4:19 pm

Relievd to hear the same saying is in your family B.B. I thought it might just have been Granny on the milk stout :lol:
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Re: Old sayings and their meanings

Postby Chinchilla_lady » September 4th, 2019, 5:01 pm

My Mums answer to whats for tea? was a rasher of wind and a fried snowball.

And asking her where anything was, Up In Annie's room, behind the clock.

Where have you been Mum, there and back to see how far it was.
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Re: Old sayings and their meanings

Postby Seatallan » September 4th, 2019, 5:06 pm

Pepper Pig wrote:My grandfather used to say “Couldn't stop a pig in a passage” about our Rector who was ancient and very bandy-legged.


Our version was 'Couldn't stop a pig in an alley' :D . Still one of my favorite sayings.

I've mentioned this before I know, but another favorite of mine came from an auntie. If ever anything went missing she'd say 'It'll be in Annie's room behind the clock'. I've used it ever since.
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Re: Old sayings and their meanings

Postby Ratatouille » September 4th, 2019, 6:52 pm

Tezza you are naughty because it has occupied my mind all afternoon.

I have come up with Pig in a Poke meaning youve bought something which isn't worth what you paid

Also; You can'r make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. Meaning if something or someone doesn't match it up they never will.
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Re: Old sayings and their meanings

Postby Grasshopper » September 4th, 2019, 8:08 pm

Chinchilla_lady wrote:Where have you been Mum, there and back to see how far it was.


MY Ma says that too!
:lol:
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Spring ventures forth to plant the grain
And Summer dries the straw
Autumn gathers in the harvest
And Winter shuts the door

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Re: Old sayings and their meanings

Postby earthmaiden » September 4th, 2019, 9:45 pm

Only heard of a few that people have mentioned. We had a lot I think but can't think offhand.

Chinchilla_lady wrote:My Mums answer to whats for tea? was a rasher of wind and a fried snowball.

My mums answer was 'pickled eels toenails'.
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Re: Old sayings and their meanings

Postby TeresaFoodie » September 4th, 2019, 11:18 pm

:lol: These replies have really made me chuckle.

My dad mentioned one his mum would say in response to 'What's for tea?' and it involved a puff of air or something. I'll ask him.
Pepper Pig wrote:
My favourite saying from the family was “I don’t know whether I’m on foot or horseback today”. I guess today’s saying for that would be “I don’t know whether I’m coming or going”.


Sorry for lowering the tone butI have heard in my neck of the woods similar but a bit cruder, 'He doesn't know his a*** from his elbow' and 'You don't know if you want a s*** or a haircut. :oops:

'There and back to see how far it is' was a regular too. As was 'On your bike' and 'Sling your hook'.

A Russian work colleague upon going home for the day will say 'I'll see you when I see you and if you want me I'm not here' Although that one is self explanatory, with her very lovely accent it almost sounds a bit like she invented that one herself.
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Re: Old sayings and their meanings

Postby Gruney » September 5th, 2019, 6:53 am

My primary school teacher used to say "you're neither use nor ornament".
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Re: Old sayings and their meanings

Postby earthmaiden » September 5th, 2019, 7:26 am

So encouraging Gruney! One of ours used to shout "You ninny!" as he rapped us across the knuckles with a ruler if we got a sum wrong.
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Re: Old sayings and their meanings

Postby Gruney » September 5th, 2019, 8:20 am

earthmaiden wrote:So encouraging Gruney!


In my case, he was probably right. :lol:
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Re: Old sayings and their meanings

Postby Meganthemog » September 5th, 2019, 10:08 am

In our family if you asked what someone was going to wear, the answer would always be 'the blue satin dress with the pink satin bow'. My mother's favourite when asked if something could be seen as in a small hole in your tights or the like - a man on a galloping horse wouldn't notice it.
Couldn't stop a pig in a passage referred to someone who was very bandy and so the pig would go through his legs. We had a friend whose father was very bow legged - so much so that DD recognised him from quite a distance and shouted out to him. When he asked how she'd picked him out from so far away she responded with 'I'd recognise your legs anywhere' ! :lol: :lol:
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Re: Old sayings and their meanings

Postby StokeySue » September 5th, 2019, 10:51 am

Ah, neither use nor ornament was most often applied to inanimate objects in my family and I still use it that way

International section; French OH used to say “un chien mouillé peut pas sécher un autre” - one wet dog cannot dry another

Meaning someone can’t help because they are in the same state (often the same level of ignorance when V used it) - I’m sure there’s an English phrase with the same implication, other than “all in the same boat”
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Re: Old sayings and their meanings

Postby Ratatouille » September 5th, 2019, 1:04 pm

Meganthemog wrote: My mother's favourite when asked if something could be seen as in a small hole in your tights or the like - a man on a galloping horse wouldn't notice it


Gran used to go one further and say a blind man on a galloping horse.

F-i-l used to say when asked what to wear that he would be wearing a jock strap and gaiters
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Re: Old sayings and their meanings

Postby PatsyMFagan » September 5th, 2019, 1:16 pm

A few years ago, I did the 'talking' tour of the Globe theatre on the South Bank … I was amazed at how many sayings in common use now were thought up by WS … ..My mum used to say 'it's as black as Newgate's knocker' when dark thunderclouds started coming overhead ..
No-one knows if you've done your housework, but everyone knows if you've done your gardening !
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Re: Old sayings and their meanings

Postby StokeySue » September 5th, 2019, 1:22 pm

I think it's matter of conjecture how many Bill S, though up, and how many he simply recorded for the first time, isn't it? He hung around taverns and with actors, he's have heard a lot of colourful language

Onequoate my family used comes from the Jorrocks books by Surtees, though I think we got it from the TV adaptation, Jorrocks is drunk, and goes to stick his head outside to assess the conditions for riding home, he opens the wrong door and sticks his head in the larder, so when asked what it's like he says "hellish dark, and smells of cheese" - I have heard other peopel use it though, when they can't be bothered ot go and check something out
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