Sunday, April 8, 2012

H - Handwriting on the wall, handling with kid gloves, and head honcho.


Welcome back to week 2 of A-Z!  Thanks for all of those who have been visiting and any new visitors.  :D  Today's Idiom is brought to you by the letter H.

1.  Read the handwriting on the wall, Chris!  This is a sign that we shouldn't be doing this!

Meaning:  a sign that something bad is going to happen; a warning of danger or trouble.

Origin:  This idiom originated in the Old Testament of the Bible.  The King of Babylonia had  a vision in which he saw a mysterious message written on the palace wall:  “Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin.”  Daniel was sent for to explain the meaning of the strange words.  When he arrived, he told the king that it was a warning that his kingdom would be conquered.  In time the prophecy came true.  Today we say that you can read or see the “handwriting on the wall” when you can see signs that misfortune is coming.

2.  When speaking to Courtney, handle the subject of summer vacation with kid gloves.

Meaning:  to treat gently and carefully.

Origin:  Kid gloves are made from the smooth hide of a young goat and gentle to the touch.  If you handle anything (like a vase) or anyone (like a moody husband) with kid gloves, you’re being careful or gentle.  The last thing you want to do is break the vase or anger your husband.  You’re making every attempt to avoid all possible problems.

3.  You have to do what the head honcho tells you if you want to keep your job.

Meaning:  the person in charge; the chief, boss, leader.

Origin:  The Japanese word hanchu means “squad leader” (han=squad, chu=chief).  During the Korean War (1950-53) American soldiers changed the spelling to honcho and added “head,” probably because the alliteration made it a more catchy phrase.  Today, a head honcho is the principal of a school, the owner of a business, or anyone in charge.

41 comments:

  1. Ohh, these three are really fun.
    The 'Handwriting on the wall' history is actually a little chilling. I don't think it's one I've seen that often, either.
    Very cool, ^_^

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  2. I always loved "head honcho," honcho is a cool word!

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  3. I love Head Honcho. I'm going to try to use it today :-)

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  4. Had to look up "hanchu" since I've studied Japanese in the past. In romanji (Japanese spelled out as English) it's actually "hanchou" ha-n-cho-u, which sounds much more similar to the English word "hancho" than when spelled with the u. (Han-chew)

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    1. That's cool. I took it from Scholastic's Dictionary of Idioms - they messed up...I just spread their mistake. :( LOL.

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  5. The handwriting on the wall story is creepy! Around here, we say "writing on the wall." I guess folks thought they were too cool and decided to take out the "hand" part. LOL

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  6. What a fun way to do the challenge! Happy Alphabet :)

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  7. I've used that honcho word so many times and had no idea that's where it came from. Thanks!

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  8. You don't often hear that honcho one. Note to self - must use the word honcho in conversation this week!
    A to Z of Nostalgia

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    1. Do it and report back on it. I wanna know. LOL.

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  9. Ah, never realized it was "hand" writing on the wall - good to know!

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    1. I've always heard it without "hand" too.

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  10. Hi Jaycee! What a fab topic for the A to Z challenge - I had to go back and read all of your prior posts, just to see what idioms I've missed.
    Great post - and thanks for stopping by my blog, too!

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    1. You're welcome and I'm glad you like the topic! :D

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  11. Love these idioms. Kid gloves never gets old. Great post.

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  12. I didn't realize where head honcho came from. It also kinda bothers me that kid gloves came from goats. :(

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    1. Bothers me, too. Why are they killing baby goats? What purpose does it really serve?

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  13. I love these - I'm learning so many things from your blog!

    And I agree with Cherie, I didn't realize that "kid gloves" came from goats, but I also forgot that goats were called kid until you mentioned it - so it makes sense... But I still don't like it.

    R.A.Desilets

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    1. Thanks, and I'm with you and Cherie - don't like it either.

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  14. I adore these posts!!!! seriously. LOVE!

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  15. Very interesting! I hadn't heard of the origin of "head honcho" before. Good post!

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  16. Hm. Have used that writing on the wall one a few times. Nice to know where it actually comes from!

    Anna@Herding Cats & Burning Soup

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    1. You'll probably think of the definition next time you use it. LOL.

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  17. Love the handwriting on the wall one. It's always been a favorite bible story of mine (I love the book of Daniel). Didn't know about head honcho - excellent!

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  18. Interesting stuff - I like your creative use of the letter! I always thought the word honcho came from Mexico or somewhere - lol. I've only heard it as "writing on the wall" too - didn't know about the hand!

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    1. It does sound like a spanish word. Thanks!

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  19. I've got one for you :)

    "always fun to read" (comes from the blog of Jaycee DeLorenzo, where each post she wrote was alway enjoyable to peruse :)

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    1. Aww, thanks! That put a huge smile on my face! Glad you're enjoying them!

      :D

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  20. Really interesting posts! The origin of words and phrases has always been interesting.

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    1. Thank you! I'm really enjoying doing this series and learning so much!

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  21. I didn't know it was "handwriting." I always thought it was just "writing."

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