Monday, April 2, 2012

C- Casting Pearls Before Swine, Crocodile Tears, and a Chip on My Shoulder

Today's Idioms are brought to you by the letter C.  Three more idiom origins to tickle your fancy (<--hmm...wonder where that one came from?)  Gah, I'm seeing idioms everywhere, now!

1.  Serving filet mignon to Fred is like Casting pearls before swine.  His idea of fine dining is McDonalds.

Meaning:  to waste something good or valuable on something who won't appreciate or understand it.

Origin:  The expression comes from the Bible (Matthew 7:6) and was later used by William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens.  Giving pearls to swine, or pigs, would be foolish.  They want mud and food, not jewels.  In a similar way, wasting something good on someone who won't be thankful for it is like "casting pearls before swine."

2.  Sissy cried Crocodile tears when the police officer tried to give her a ticket for speeding.

Meaning:  fake tears; false grief.

Origin:  Way back in ancient Rome (about A.D. 300), people were using this expression.  About 1,000 years later, people enjoyed listening to a popular folktale about how crocodiles make loud weeping sounds to trap innocent prey who come close to see what all the wailing is about.  The crocodiles supposedly weep fake tears even as they eat their victims (it is actually due to a lachrymal gland - it's not emotional).  Later, British writers such as Shakespeare, Bacon, and Tennyson used "crocodile tears" to suggest insincere sympathy and pretended sorrow.

3.  Avoid Alex, if you can.  That boy has a real Chip on his shoulder

Meaning:  to be quarrelsome, aggressive, or rude; to be ready to fight.

Origin:  In the early 1800s American boys played the following game:  One boy put a chip of wood or stone on his shoulder and dared another boy to knock it off.  If he did, the two boys would fight.  Today, if a person is edgy or looking for an argument, we say he has a "chip on his shoulder" in reference to that old game.

Enjoy!  And thanks to all of you who have visited (and welcome newbies!)  I'm having so much fun researching and sharing these!

64 comments:

  1. I knew the first one's origin, but not the other two! Didn't realize crocodile tears has such a long history!

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    1. Many of them have huge, long histories. It's crazy how old a lot of these are.

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  2. Love these! So interesting; it's like learning family history.

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  3. I always wondered where "crocodile tears" came from!

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  4. These are great sayings. I hadn't heard the casting pearl ones in a long time. I didn't realise croc tears was such an old expression!

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    1. A lot of these are much older than I would have thought. :D

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  5. I remember TV tough guy Robert Conrad playing 'chip on the shoulder' with a battery:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lr-oLQgvcuk

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  6. OK, I've never even *thought* about some of these. Like the chip on the shoulder. So cool.

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    1. I'm really enjoying finding all these out. Most haven't occurred to me...until this week. LOL.

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  7. Thank you so much for your sweet comment on my blog :)

    This was so interesting, again! I had always wondered where 'crocodile tears' came from. And it was really cool to learn where 'chip on his shoulder' came from. Excellent post, as always!

    Nikki – inspire nordic

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    1. Oh, you're welcome! I'm loving your posts!

      Thanks!

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  8. LOL. Typical boys. Always looking for a reason to get into trouble.

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    1. That's one of the first things I thought. LOL.

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  9. this is too much fun, what a great idea for posts. I love the last one about the chip on the shoulders. :)

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  10. Lol, wow! The crocodile one is sorta of creepy.
    Love these, ^_^

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    1. I know, right? I'm going to think about it every time I accuse my 3yo of giving me Crocodile tears. LOL.

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  11. Crocodile tears are pretty bizarre - it's weird how I've never really thought about these sayings before or looked up where they came from.

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    1. Some of the ones that seem to be pretty obvious have really interesting origins, I'm finding. I always want to post more because they're all so fascinating, but don't want to leave posts too big.

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  12. I knew pearls before swine was from the Bible, but I didn't know about the others. What a great theme for the month! New follower!

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    1. Thank you, and thanks for following! :D

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  13. How interesting. I'd always heard of these, but never knew where them came from. Thank you.

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  14. Thinking about the pearls before swine, it's like going to a restaurant and ordering a steak well done. They'll give you the worst piece of meat they can find because, quite frankly, you won't even know the difference.

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  15. Hello Jaycee! Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting! This is a great challenge theme. I've always been interested in idioms and their origins. Thanks for sharing and nice to meet you!

    Happy writing from a new follower,
    Jen

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    1. Thanks for following, and I'm glad you're enjoying my theme! It's so fun!

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  16. I love 'casting pearls before swine'. In my worst, most frustrated moments of teaching, I do recall suggesting that that should be the title of our next teachers' conference. I was only joking, of course...mostly :D

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  17. Great idioms!

    The chip on the shoulder reminds me of an episode of the Andy Griffith Show where Opie was having bully trouble, and the bully put a piece of wood on his shoulder and dared Opie to knock it off. I had no idea that's where [that type of action] that saying came about.

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    1. Whoa, I actually think I've seen this one. Weird!

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  18. Idioms, I like that word, and what a great idea.

    Look forward to reading more.

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  19. I use that last one all the time, but the other two rarely. these are so much fun... love your theme!

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    1. I always use Crocodile tears with my daughter and when I found out the history, I was like...huh, that's kind of freaky. LOL.

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  20. Yay! More great idiom definitions. I am loving this theme Jaycee! Also, in regards to your commute. I spent one gorgeous year outside of Phoenix, and the desert landscape is probably my other most favorite environment - It's so subtle and beautiful.

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    1. Thanks, I love trees and greenery, and usually think the desert is fairly ugly, but my ride through the Saguaro forest always makes me feel so lucky to witness true beauty in the desert.

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  21. Yay! I've heard of all of these idioms! But didn't know the history behind them so thanks for sharing this. It's cool to learn where they originated from.

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    1. Thanks! It's funny how we never really think about it, then realize there's a whole history behind some of our most common sayings.

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  22. This is such a unique premise for your A-Z challenge, I'm loving it. And it's educational, that is sneaky! lol

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    1. What can I say? It's the teacher in me. Lol.

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  23. These are so great. I love learning about these.

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  24. Here's one for you. Where does "He looks like he just stepped out of a band box," come from? I know the answer.

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  25. What an awesome theme! We're all going to learn a lot.

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  26. This is so great maybe at the end you can compile everything and make it into a book. I would buy it.
    dreamweaver

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    1. I would if they were mine, but they're not.

      I'm getting many of these from Scholastic's Dictionary of Idioms, and the rest from online.

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  27. oh that's very cool. I knew the first two, but I didn't know the history of "chip on the shoulder". Thanks for the info!

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  28. I hadn't realized the "chip on the shoulder" idiom literally came from boys placing chips on their shoulder to prompt themselves toward a fight. Learn something new everyday.

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  29. What I found most interesting about your entry for C was the information about crocodiles making loud weeping sounds to trap innocent prey and shedding weep tears when they eat their victims. They're such fascinating and awesome animals.

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    1. And a little creepy. Don't forget creepy. LOL.

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  30. what a fun post! I officially learn something new everyday! thanks!
    I am your newest follower..pls follow back if you can.

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    1. Thanks for following, and welcome! Will go return the favor!

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  31. I know all the sayings, but I didn't know where they came from :-)

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