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Monday, April 28, 2014

THE ORIGIN OF PHRASES - a cranky re-run

This Monday's rerun is from May 2011
Once again, I think I've mellowed since 2011
There are many phrases which we use every day.  We know what they mean, but what is their derivation?  The derivation of many phrases is obvious.  The derivation of some is completely different from what most people believe, and the derivation of others is a mystery; until now.
Spin a yarn
          Definition – to tell a story, often embellished.
Derivation – When women made yarn from wool it was done with a spinning wheel.  As they spun their yarn they often told stories and gossiped.  Eventually the telling of stories was associated with “Spinning a yarn.”
The whole nine yards
          Definition – The whole thing, go all the way.
          Derivation – In 1924, Notre Dame was playing Army for the national football championship.   With eight seconds left to play, Notre Dame was behind by three points; the ball was on the Army nine.  When asked if he was going to try to kick a field goal for the tie, Coach Knute Rockne said, “Let’s just go for the whole nine yards.
Pissed off
          Definition – Very angry
          Derivation – The Pizdoff family of Scranton Pa. was noted for their lack of composure.  One day a stranger in town noticed Mrs. Pizdoff arguing violently with her husband.  The stranger asked a local what was the argument all about.  The local replied, “oh, it’s nothing, there just Pizdoffs.”
Fuck you
          Definition – Go to Hell!
          Derivation – Someone got a really bad lay.
The cat’s pajamas
          Definition – The best, the ultimate.
          Derivation – From the roaring twenties, nobody knows, nobody cares, and nobody ever uses this expression except to describe a zoot suit.
Dumb as a stump
          Definition – Someone is really stupid.
          Derivation – Most people believe this refers to a tree stump not being very smart.  Actually it originally came as a reference to an Akron Ohio resident who was known to be the stupidest man in Ohio; Thomas A. Stumb.
Smart as a whip
          Definition – Pretty fucking smart.
          Derivation – Ever been hit with a whip?  It Fucking SMARTS!
Did a Trionfo
          Definition – Acted like a really big prick.
          Derivation – OK, this is a bit colloquial, but if you knew the guy, you would understand!
The real McCoy
          Definition – The actual thing.
          Derivation – The real Goldblatt just never caught on.
He’s got a bug up his ass
          Definition – He is very irritated.
          Derivation – Come on, it’s a BUG UP YOUR ASS!! That would make anyone act like a Pizdoff.


  1. Dumb as a stump is my fave.

  2. Well done. I'm buying several .....:)

  3. Bwahahahahahahaha. I learn so many things here. Yes I do.

    Have a fabulous day. :)

  4. Go Irish! - the rest? I dunno!

  5. OMG! I looked up that Thomas Stumb guy....that's my uncle Stumpy, the high school shop teacher!

    1. Is there such a thing as a shop teacher with 10 fingers?

  6. I think I once lived next door to the Pizdoffs.

  7. Is this an extension of your one fake headline day? I grew up in Akron, Ohio. I never met your man.

  8. Smarter than a box of rocks ..... or a bag of hammers

  9. Didn't Shakespeare call someone "dumb as dirt" in one of his plays? I'd know if I wasn't dumb as dirt.

  10. I was laughing so hard I my family came in to see what was so funny. I had to read it to them. I don't know if they were laughing because I was laughing or if they just share my sense of humor! LOVED This one!!!!! Thanks for your comment today. :) Guess I'll be seeing you. :)

  11. Hahaha...these are too funny!

    Never heard of dumb as a stump. I work with geologists, we say "dumber than a bag of rocks." Heh.

  12. This is great! The Akron one kills! I can't wait to tell my Akron friends this. Also, the Pizdoffs. For real? That's too funny. More please.

  13. I remember the "whole nine yards" origin. Or, maybe because I am a sports fan, I just pay more attention to those.

  14. My favorite is "smart as a whip." The "bug up his ass" reminds me of one of my favorite TV shows (not Seinfeld), but ER, when Dr. Luka Kovac, the Croatian, asked Abby, his nurse girlfriend, why she was so mad. "Why are you acting like there's an insect in your anus?"