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Monday, June 30, 2014


This cranky re-run is from December 2011

Do you ever wonder where the many common sayings we use everyday come from?  What are the origins of expressions we hear all the time?  You may be surprised.  Here are more of Cranky’s “ORIGINS OF SAYINGS.”

“Hit the sack”
Meaning – Go to bed

Origin – Old beds were basically just large sacks filled with anything soft, hence going to bed was referred to as hitting the sack.

“Don’t yank my crank”
Meaning – Don’t try and fool me.

Origin – Fisherman knew they had a fish on when their crank moved.  As a goof it was common for another fisherman to pull on the line which moved the crank and made the fisherman think he had a fish.  Fisherman used the expression anytime someone tried to fool them, “Hey, Don’t yank my crank.”

“Buy the farm”
Meaning – Die

Origin – Farmers were notorious for having a large mortgage on their property.  When a farmer died and he had life insurance the neighbors would remark, “At least the insurance will pay off the mortgage.  Hence – He bought the farm!

“Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face”

Meaning – don’t cause needless self-destructive in an over-reaction to a problem.

Origin – DUH!  Cutting off your nose?  This is a really a bad idea, kinda like a ballplayer getting angry at striking out and breaking his foot kicking a water-cooler.

“There is more than one way to skin a cat”
Meaning – There is more than one way to get a job done.

Origin – This was obviously first said by someone who was not a cat skinner as it turns out there is actually only one way to skin a cat.

“Put up your dukes”
Meaning – Prepare to fight

Origin- In mid-evil times, when two countries were going to fight, rather than risk entire armies, the Kings would often pick their best Dukes to engage in a sword fight to determine the triumphant country.  Thus the term: PUT UP YOUR DUKES (also sometimes DUKE IT OUT).

“The bee’s knees”
Meaning – The best part

Origin – Hundreds of years ago, people were so poor that sometimes the only food they had was insects.  The tastiest insects were BEES.  The best part of the bees was the knees.  Hence the best of anything became called THE BEES KNEES.

“Use your noodle”

Meaning – Think, be smart; use your head.

Origin – In some cultures, pasta is the main course and served from the head of the table.  Pasta or the noodle became synonymous with the head.  Thus to be smart you use your head, or use your noodle.  (Also see “She gives really good noodle!)

 “The cat’s pajamas”
Meaning – Someone that is really special

Origin – In the twenties, pajamas were only for the wealthy or special people.  For a cat to have pajamas was really special.  Thus a really special person was called the cat’s pajamas. (The dog’s dungarees never caught on.)

“I’m going to cut off your head and shit down your neck”
Meaning – A really bad person intends to cut off your head and shit down your neck.

Origin – In some parts of the country if you don’t pay off your gambling debts the bookie will cut off your head and shit down your neck.


  1. I always love learning the origins of popular sayings. I read a book once that explained the origins of 500 common sayings. Quite a fascinating read. Thought your last example wasn't in there LOL

  2. Nice list of catchy sayings. My mom and aunt had two favorites that I have never heard anyone say but those two.

    1- I am gonna tear your arm off and beat you over the head with the bloody end.
    2- (For the tattle tell) I am gonna jump down your throat and rip your tonsils out!

  3. Very educational Joe (not necessarily ACCURATE but definitely educational ...). I wonder which order they would do the last one in? I mean, I don't suppose many people would care that much if you shit down their neck AFTER you'd cut their head off ...

  4. What a great lesson. I didn't know some of these.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

  5. I thought it was don't yank my chain. Ummm apparently that has several meanings after googling....

  6. Why would starving people eat bees instead of the honey that bees produce? And I really don't think they have knees. I've always loved learning the origins of words and phrases and this was an enjoyable post.

  7. Love the last one. I didn't notice I have the honour of being your three hundred and first follower. I feel significance that perhaps does not exist.

  8. If we're picking the one you made up, it's bee's knees.
    You are aware, of course, that noodle is an Olde English word for head and for boyfriend.

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  10. Got an error 503. Will try again. I'm guessing buying the farm to be real and the rest are the work of your clever and devious mind. Bee's knees was a hoot.

  11. Still wondering about the incident that led to the saying, "That'll knock your socks off!"

  12. I'm standing here beside myself.

  13. When I was growing up and taking too long to get ready to go somewhere, my mom would say "Hurry up! You're slower than molasses in January!" and I would always wonder who this guy Molasses was? Was he related to that guy Moses that I was always hearing about in Sunday school? And why was he slower in January than all the other months?

    When it was freezing outside, my grandfather would always say "Damn! It's colder than a mother-in-law's kiss out here!" and I didn't get that one until I was much older. And when I'm a mother-in-law I'm going to make sure that my kisses aren't cold.

    1. Funny stuff. I'm not sure if it would pass Snopes scrutiny, but that never stopped me from having a good laugh. :)



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