Friday, April 6, 2012

G - Gone to pot, killing the goose, and giving up the ghost.


 Today's idioms are brought to you by the letter G!

1.  This building was once beautiful, but now it’s  gone to pot.  

Meaning:  to become ruined; get worse and worse.

Origin:  This saying is from the 1500s, and originally referred to old or weak animals that could no longer breed, lay eggs, give milk, or pull wagons.  They were more useful on the dinner plate than in the barnyard, so they were slaughtered and cooked in a pot.  Now, we say something has gone to pot when a person is worn out, in bad shape, or can’t do its job properly.  Similar to:  “gone to wrack and ruin,” “gone to the dogs,” and “gone to seed.”

2.  Don’t be obnoxious to Aunt Jo after she gives you money.  You’ll kill the goose that lays the golden egg.

Meaning:  to spoil or destroy something that produces a long-term gain for the sake of a quick reward.

Origin:  This phrase has been used since the 1500s in England.  Aesop wrote a fable about a farmer who owned a goose that laid one golden egg per day.  The greedy farmer became impatient and decided to kill the goose so he could get all the eggs that were in the goose at one time.  Of course, there were no more in there, and a dead goose can’t lay any more eggs, so the foolish farmer lost his source of fortune. 

3.  On the way to California, Sean’s car just gave up the ghost.

Meaning:  To die or stop working.

Origin:  This saying came from the Bible (Job 14:10, Acts 12:23, as well as others).  Ghost didn’t mean a dead person, but a person’s soul, which is thought to leave a person’s body when they die.  So if somebody “gives up the ghost,” he or she stops living.  If something “gives up the ghost,” it stops working.   

Lots of death in this one, huh?

48 comments:

  1. I have to say, I LOVE your theme. These posts have been so great! I had no idea that's what 'gone to pot' went, but when you think about it, it makes perfect sense!

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  2. Hehe gone to pot. I usually say gone to the craphole but I guess that means the same

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  3. I always wondered about "Gone to pot," I had no idea how that one came about until now!

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    1. Me, too. I wasn't even sure what it meant!

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  4. I use gone to pot all the time, probably at least once a day at the moment. Yeah, I need to do some housework :-)

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  5. My girlfriend and I were just talking about the phrase "give up the ghost" yesterday at lunch. We were in a crowded restaurant, and it being Good Friday there was lots of talk around us about Jesus and what not.

    I'm loving these posts! Keep them coming!

    J.W. Alden

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  6. Well now that I'm thoroughly depressed......And I use all three of these idioms, now I'll be an informed speaker.

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  7. Great post! I've never heard the gives up the ghost one, but I like background for it.
    Thanks for sharing these!

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    1. I've heard it as a book title, but it was actually about ghosts. :D

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  8. I love this series that you're doing!

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  9. Ahaha, this is an awesome theme for the challenge. HILARIOUS. Can't wait to read the others you have planned.
    Great post and happy A-Z blogging.

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  10. My mom loves the last saying--gave up the ghost :)

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    1. Cool. I've never actually heard it used before.

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  11. I just love getting the history on these. :) It's fascinating.

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  12. I'm actually starting to look forward to your posts. I've been trying to guess which idioms you'll use next and it's always a surprise.

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    1. Think of more obscure ones and those are the ones I'll choose. I do them based on their meanings.

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  13. you and I are on a similar journey - exploring words this way. Thanks - this is great!

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    1. Very cool! I'll go check out what you're doing!

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  14. I didn't know the background on "gone to pot" and since I am a person who enjoys knowing the underside of life and words, well, let's just say you're helping me learn more and having fun in the process.

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  15. I just found your blog. (Thanks for following mine!) I love your theme. I've always been interested in the origins of idioms and the etymology of words. Following! :)

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    1. Thank you! These have been a lot of fun to learn.

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  16. The Golden Goose story always made me sad as a kid, cuz I felt so sorry for the poor goose. :) I've always liked the 'giving up the ghost' expression.

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  17. Hi, great theme. I just learned a lot - you say these things, but never really understand what they mean.

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  18. I'd heard the one about the goose before. Didn't know give up the ghost was from the Bible though.

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    1. Me, either. Learn something new every day. :D

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  19. That's interesting about 'gone to pot'. There's also gone to seed which means essentially the same thing...

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    1. Yeah, I listed three or four things that meant essentially the same thing at the end of the paragraph. Found a lot for the word "hit" too.

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  20. So interesting! I didn't know the ghost one at all.

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  21. I never knew the origin of Gone to Pot. Very sad for those poor old animals.

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  22. What a great idea to post idioms for the A - Z challenge. Love this!

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  23. I haven't heard of the ghost one before. It's interesting to see where they all come from. Thanks.

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  24. These are awesome! I'm so glad you visited my blog so I could find yours! I love word origins and idiom origins! Thanks!

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    1. Yay, well welcome! Hope you enjoy my series! :)

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  25. I love finding out the origins of words and phrases. (=

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