Sunday, March 4, 2018

Do You Get That Idiom?

By Maureen L. Bonatch

This year in my part of the world it seems that March is coming in like a lamb. A wet, soggy lamb, mind you, but it’s starting off mild. That leads us to believe that it will go out like a lion. 

I say this with the assumption that you’ve heard the idiom of, “In like a lion, out like a lamb.” 

If you haven’t heard this, then perhaps you just thought I might’ve lost a little more of my ‘writer marbles.’ You might’ve shrugged it off, thinking many writers are a little unusual anyway…

Don't Stall Your Story 

Many people use these old idiomatic expressions with the assumption that people know what they’re talking about. They’re fun to toss in a conversation, but can become problematic if you come across one in a story and don’t know what they’re talking about. 

In my book, GRANDMA MUST DIE, I actually address this a little in the story, referencing that some witches with extended life spans use these references that no one gets anymore. 

Did you Just Call Me an Idiot?

Although it sounds similar, an idiom isn’t the same as an idiot,
unless that’s what you’re grumbling when you come across a confusing passage in a book that’s actually an idiom squeezed in there. 

Otherwise, an idiom is a group of words that doesn’t really have a clear meaning. Some might be more popular in certain regions, or time periods, but I’d assume many have begun to make less and less sense to younger generations.

What Did You Say?

If you’re familiar with the idiom, it seems perfectly natural to say it because it makes sense to you because you know the implied meaning. But if you haven’t heard it before, it makes pretty much no sense at all to stick these in a perfectly normal conversation.

“Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.”
This implies that you shouldn’t accidently throw out something good with the bad or reject the favorable with the unfavorable.

But since not many people are actually throwing out bathwater since the invention of running water, and hopefully no one has lost a baby to relate to the situation, it just sounds a little confusing.

“A penny for your thoughts.”
A way to ask someone what they’re thinking, although with inflation, I think the rate would be much higher now.

“Hear it straight from the horse’s mouth”
When you want to hear it from someone in authority. Younger generations haven’t even heard of the old television show with the talking horse, Mr. Ed, or have much to do with horses at all. 

Therefore, they’d be out of luck waiting for their confirmation.

“The whole nine yards”
All of it, everything. I’m not sure why nine yards is everything. I might want more than that, or to round it up to an even number.

“Sit on the fence”
When you can’t make a decision. Although this seems like an awfully uncomfortable place to sit to contemplate something. I think I’d decide rather quickly just to get off the fence.

“Pull the wool over your eyes”
When you deceive someone. Again, the lack of sheep, or spare wool makes it sound as if you had this line in a book that they failed to successfully yank their sweater over their head.

“Piece of cake”
To describe something that is simple, or easy. Now I don’t want an easy task, I just want something sweet.

“Elvis has left the building”
To announce that the show has come to an end. Even though Elvis is still brought up today, sadly I’m not certain some people would know who he was.

Choose Your Words Carefully

I love to write a post that makes you realize you can’t judge a book by it’s cover to gain the curiosity of my audience. But I’d lose it quickly if that curiosity killed the cat and left me crying over spilled milk. So the ball is in your court if you want to share some of your favorite idioms, but don’t bite off more than you can chew—because there are a lot of them.

Do You Have a Favorite Idiom?

Author Bio: Maureen Bonatch grew up in small town Pennsylvania and her love of the four seasons—hockey, biking, sweat pants and hibernation—keeps her there. While immersed in writing or reading paranormal romance and fantasy, she survives on caffeine, wine, music, and laughter. A feisty Shih Tzu keeps her in line. Find Maureen on her websiteFacebookTwitter


Nancy Gideon said...

You have to break a few eggs to make an omelet! Fun post! If you really want to feel lost, listen to British TV. I never get anything they're talking about. Must be how my grandson feels listening to me.

Maureen said...

lol! I've only watched British TV a few times, but that's so true!

Sorchia DuBois said...

So much fun!! Idioms really show the personality of a region or country. "Yer bum's oot the windae" is an oldie but a Scottish goody meaning you're talking nonsense. In my part of the world--deep in the Missouri Ozarks--we live for idioms like "He's plumb ate up" which can mean anything from "he's riddled with cancer" to "he's witty and likely to say anything." Thanks for the chuckles in this post!!

Maureen said...

lol Sorchia! I've never heard either one you shared. This is fun discovering 'new ..old...expressions'

L. A. Kelley said...

My favorite is "He dances like a frog caught in a blender."

Maureen said...

That does give quite the image, L.A., lol!

Diane Burton said...

One of my favorite British idioms is "... and Bob's your uncle." As in, do this and this and Bob's your uncle. Meaning (I think) piece of cake or easy peasy.

Maureen said...

I've not heard that one either, Diane. I'm glad you explained it or I would've been completely confused, lol. But I like it, perhaps I'll have to start using it in conversation ;)

Sherry Ellis said...

I like idioms, but they can sure be confusing to people for whom English is a second language.

Elizabeth Alsobrooks said...

You can't judge a book by its cover, of course! LOL! Great post.

Maureen said...

Thanks Elizabeth!