August 30, 2013

Bat Out of Hell & Other Phrases

As I was doing research the other day, a phrase caught my eye... like a bat out of hell. It made me wonder about the origin of phrases I use.

Bat Out of Hell
(from Urban Dictionary)
to flee recklessly fast

"Bats have been associated with witches and the occult, and therefore thought to originate in the bowels of hell, (and) they fly quickly as if in panic..."

I Don't Give Two Flying Shits
don't care at all

I had a hard time finding the saying with the flying in there, although that's the way I always heard it in the South. Although I found this definition from Uncyclopedia one of the bests: Two Shits is a measurement, standardized under the SI system of measurements, used as a yardstick to determine how much one cares.

Why two, why not just one? I would think not giving one would be expressive enough. Stumped on this one.

But as I was looking for definitions, I happened upon this great site (at least for a word nerd like me): Some Old Sayings Explained.

A few of my favorites from perusing that site (the definitions below are all from there)...

Wear Your Heart on Your Sleeve
making your feelings obvious

In the Middle Ages knights who fought at tournaments wore a token of their lady on their sleeves.

Through Thick & Thin
being devoted through anything

This old saying was once 'through thicket and thin wood'. It meant making your way through a dense wood and through one where trees grew more thinly.

Go To Pot
fall apart

Any farm animal that had outlived its usefulness such as a hen that no longer laid eggs would literally go to pot. It was cooked and eaten.

One more I could not find the origin of, one from my dad...

"You might want horns, but you're going to die butt-headed."

Any sayings you've always wondered about?


krystal jane said...

I say "go to pot" all the time. ^_^ It's good to know I've been using it right. lol!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Good to know flying shits doesn't mean what it sounds like.
What about going to hell in a hand basket?

Tia Bach said...

Krystal - I use that one a lot, too. ;-)

Alex - That's a great one. I had to look it up for you. The best answer: 1900s was quoted by evangelists as "handbasket" and decrying the declining morals of the age. It is suggesting, perhaps, that sinners would be delivered to Satan, rather than being aware of their plight and putting up some sort of moral struggle. (found online)

Anonymous said...

Whoops a daisy has always intrigued me. My grandfather had his own version Whoops a blooming buttercup!

Unknown said...

Thanks for the link to the website.
As a word geek I'm going to check that out. One the intrigued me for ages was 'the exception that proves the rule'. It was only recently that I found out 'prove' was an older way of saying test. I'm now on a mission to find out if its the same kind of 'prove' that's used in baking. (proving or proofing, I'm not quite sure.)
Does anyone out there know?

Jo Michaels said...

"Crapshoot," "nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs," "get off the cross," and "piddle or get off the potty" are the ones I've always wondered about :) Never gonna bother to look them up, though. I find I enjoy a little mystery in my life :) hehe Interesting tidbits, Tia! Thanks for sharing. WRITE ON!