(WYTV)- Where did these expression come from?
Fly off the handle, in the days before we had mass merchandising, an axe head might not have been attached tight enough, you had to duck when it flew off the handle.
It’s an American expression we first see in print in 1834.
Chew the fat, a sailor’s term from the days before refrigeration when ships carried food that wouldn’t spoil. One of them was salted pork skin, mostly fat and sailors would only eat it if all other food was gone, complaining as they did, so idle chatter became known as “chewing the fat.”
Close but no cigar, today’s carnival games give out stuffed animals as prizes, but in the late 19th century, more adults played than children and winners might get a cigar. They might come “close, but no cigar.”
By the 1930s, the phrase covered close shots on anything.
The seven-year itch, before the Marilyn Monroe film and her high flying skirt, the term referred to scabies, an itchy infection from mites under your skin. It referred to how long they might linger, or at least it felt like seven years.
It’s a Bible-friendly alternative to swearing.
“Gadzooks!” instead of “God’s hooks!” is a reference to the nails from the Crucifixion
Christians have been shouting “gadzooks” since the 1690s.
Till the cows come home…a cattle curfew?
We’ve been using this idiom since at least the sixteenth century and it may have come from the Scottish Highlands, where cows would graze for a long time before they meandered home.