25 Truly Shocking Origins of Common Phrases

Do you know where some of our common sayings come from? From “kicking the bucket” to “rule of thumb,” you might not believe where some of these everyday sayings came from! On today’s list, we’re going to explore 25 Truly Shocking Origins of Common Phrases. (We hope these sayings don’t “rub you the wrong way!”)

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20

Caught Red-Handed

red hand

Meaning: To be caught doing something wrong
History: This saying originated because of a law. If someone butchered an animal that didn’t belong to him, he had to be caught with the animal’s blood on his hands to be convicted. Being caught with freshly cut meat did not make the person guilty.

19

Don’t Throw the Baby Out with the Bathwater

baby in bath

Meaning: Hang on to valuable things when getting rid of unnecessary things
Hisory: During the 1500’s, most people bathed once a year. Even when they did bathe, the entire family used the same tubful of water. The man of the house bathed first, followed by other males, then females, and finally the babies. You can imagine how thick and cloudy the water became by that time, so the infants’ mothers had to take care not to throw them out with the bathwater when they emptied the tub.


18

Eat Humble Pie

meat pie

Meaning: Making an apology and suffering humiliation along with it
History: During the Middle Ages, the lord of a manor would hold a feast after hunting. He would receive the finest cut of meat at the feast, but those of a lower standing were served a pie filled with the entrails and innards, known as “umbles.” Therefore, receiving “umble pie” was considered humiliating because it informed others in attendance of the guest’s lower status.

17

Give the Cold Shoulder

cold shoulder

Meaning: A rude way of telling someone he isn’t welcome or to ignore someone
History: Although giving someone the cold shoulder is considered rude today, it was actually regarded as a polite gesture in medieval England. After a feast, the host would let his guests know it was time to leave by giving them a cold piece of meat from the shoulder of beef, mutton, or pork.


16

Go Cold Turkey

cold turkey

Meaning: To quit something abruptly
History: People believed that during withdrawal, the skin of drug addicts became translucent, hard to the touch, and covered with goose bumps – like the skin of a plucked turkey.

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