Write Again . . . Those words we use

Published 5:35 pm Monday, May 9, 2016

Etymology: 1. The origin and historical development of a word, as evidenced by study of its basic elements, earliest known use, and changes in form and meaning; semantic derivation and evolution.

2. An account of the history of a specific word.

Are you still with me? If so, let’s say that the definition cited here can also refer to a phrase or expression. That’s a reasonable assumption, don’t you think?

Which leads me to today’s monograph, that being, what is the origin of some, many, of the words and phrases used — some quite common — in our conversational discourse?

Often we know what something means, but not how it actually came into usage. Its origin.

Some such words or phrases may suggest an explanation as to origin, but many more are obscure. We just use them, well, because we can, because they just “fit.” Or seem to.

What are some of these words or phrases, to which you refer, Mr. Language Person?

Alright, then. Here we go.

Wire to wire. Down to the wire. The whole nine yards. The whole ball of wax. Flabbergasted. Dressed to the nines.

Plastered. Snookered. Three sheets to the wind.

Bought the farm. Jump the shark. Push the envelope. That dog won’t hunt. Ride a good horse to death. On the bubble.

Man up. Game on. She’s a cougar. It’s not over ’til the fat lady sings. Fritter away. Dawdle. Kick the bucket.

The ball is in his/her court. Stop on a dime. The buck stops here. Tighten up. Chill. Ramp up. Shake a leg.

Here are a few from my time in the service: Squared away. The hawk is out. The hawk is talking. If the balloon goes up. Most skosh. Bag and baggage. Kopacetic. Cut a chogie. Short timer (the best one of all).

And on and on. I’m sure that many of you can think of others, as well.

All of which is just a less than world important exercise in pondering the origin of some of the lexicon we hear, read or use.

Have a good week, friends.