Monday, April 9, 2012

I - If the shoe fits, in the limelight, and I'll be a monkey's uncle!

Today's idioms are brought to you by the letter "I".  It was hard to find ones with origins that weren't just common sense, but I finally tracked some down. 


1.  Hey, if the shoe fits, wear it.

Meaning: If a remark applies to you, you should admit that it's true.

Origin:  This proverb comes from an older expression popular in the 1700's:  "If the cap fits, put it on."  The "cap" refers to a dunce cap.  As the years went by, "cap" changed to "slipper", perhaps because of the popularity of the story of Cinderella.  And later, "slipper" changed to "shoe."  The idea is clear:  Accept a comment that refers to you as you would wear a shoe that fits your foot.

2.  Mariel loves to be in the limelight.

Meaning:  the center of attention.

All theaters today have powerful electric spotlights that throw bright beams of light on featured performers.  In many theaters, beginning in the 1840s, the beam was created by heating lime, a form of calcium oxide, until it produced brilliant white light.  A strong lens directed it onto the dancer, juggler, actor, or singer on stage.  Anyone "in the limelight" was the center of the audience's attention.  Today, we say that anyone who gets a lot of attention, especially from the media, is in the limelight.


3.  Well, I'll be a monkey's uncle!  I would have never thought cloning a living being would be possible in my lifetime.


Meaning:  an exclamation of surprise or disbelief.  

In 1871, Darwin published the "Decent of Man" outlining his theory of evolution, sparking controversy that continues today. Darwin’s scribblings were met with a great deal of derision and skepticism.   The idea that man was descended by apes was considered the most outrageous of claims and offensive to many, especially religious-folk.  "I’ll be a monkey’s uncle" was originally a sarcastic remark made by non-believers of Darwinism, and meant to ridicule the entire idea of evolution.  It isn't used as much today.  We tend to say:  "Well, I'll be..."  or "I'll be damned!"

55 comments:

  1. Love the history of I'll be a monkey's uncle - makes sense but news to me!

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  2. Love your A-Z theme ;)
    As a non-American whose English is Second Language, this is being very helpful!
    Thanks, sista!

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  3. Hi Jaycee--Love your theme!! It made me smile!

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  4. I love the monkey's uncle one - I also like bob's your uncle, but I had an uncle named Bob, so that one always made me laugh. :)

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    1. Don't know if I've heard that one (Bob's uncle) before.

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  5. Oh man. I love knowing where "in the limelight" comes from now. Awesome!

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  6. Thanks for the post. It's fun to hear where these phrases come from.

    Von L
    The Growing Writer

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  7. Great choices! "Monkey's uncle" is definitely my favorite origin story so far (though a pig in a poke/cat out of the bag was a close second).

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  8. Jaycee, this post is awesome. I love knowing where words came from and how they changed. Language is so fluid. My dad used to say the monkey's uncle thing all of the time! The limelight factoid was particularly cool.

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  9. Jaycee,
    These were great! I love hearing more about them! Fun post~

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  10. I love your theme, it is so much fun. The origin of "I'll be a monkey's uncle" is my favorite.

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  11. Ohh, so THAT'S where monkey's uncle came from! Love it!

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  12. I always wondered about the monkey's uncle :-)

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    1. I never really understood the monkey's uncle either. Now with Jaycee's explanation now I know what they getting at with this saying..:)

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  13. I'm with Sarah. I heard the phrase, Well, I'll be a monkey's uncle", often enough, but I never really understood what it meant.

    I just realized that I have royally screwed up the challenge. Thinking back, I clearly remember reading the rules which stated we would blog every day during the month of April, except for Sunday, with the first Sunday being an exception. I don't know where or how I went wrong, but I am one day behind (nearly two if you count that I posted my letter H post at about two minutes prior to midnight).

    I forgot all about Saturday's post. I guess I thought it was a day off because we had blogged six consecutive days. I am so confused. We were to post April 1,2,3,4,5,6,7th and take Sunday the 8th off and return on Monday the 9th with our letter I post. I messed up. I posted on the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and for whatever reason I thought we did not post on Saturday, the seventh or Sunday the eighth. I then returned on Monday the ninth, but with my letter H post which should have been posted on Saturday.

    Am I the only person who made this mistake? Should I post two letters in one day to catch up or just keep going a day behind everyone else. Dang, I was so prepared and determined to do this challenge right.

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    1. so many time zones being behind won't be noticed much:) one day here is another day there - keep on posting

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    2. I'm with Alberta, here. People probably won't even notice if you are behind a day.

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  14. Haven't heard the Monkey's Uncle one in a while. I guess it fell out of fashion.
    Great theme.
    Heather

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    1. I'm guessing it did, because I don't know that I've heard it in a really long time.

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  15. I've heard the monkey's uncle idiom many times but never knew the meaning. Now I do! :)

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    1. Whoo-hoo! Glad to have been of service! :D

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  16. love the origin stories...and the latest for the shoe is, if the glove fits... (from oj simpson trial)

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    1. Right, I forgot about that one...or maybe I blocked it out. LOL.

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  17. I've heard of these, but you just don't hear the monkey's uncle one so much anymore.

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  18. Well, I'll be a monkey's uncle (or aunt!) I never knew that! Idioms is a great idea for "I".

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    1. Thanks, and I'm actually doing idioms all month long. :D

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  19. I knew all these, but not where the came from. Although I did figure that the monkey one did have something to do with Darwin. :)

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    1. I don't think I ever gave it much thought.

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  20. That's really cool how they used to create the limelight. Even though I've been involved in the theater, I hadn't heard that origin for the saying. :)

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    1. I used to be involved in theater and never heard of it, either.

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  21. I would have loved hearing these expressions for the first time and finding them fresh and lively. I guess success for the idiom means it's ultimately headed for cliche land. Thanks for the fun on this A to Z journey.

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    1. That would have been pretty awesome. Glad you're enjoying them!

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  22. monkeys uncle was common when I was younger - nearer Darwin's time maybe:) just caught up with this A-Z - great fun -will be back - thanks for dropping by

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  23. Idk why, but I never liked the monkey's uncle expression. lol. Monkeys creep me out, so I think that's why. hahaha.

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  24. I probably am guilty of saying if the shoe fits more than I'd like to admit. Lol

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    1. I use it in my writing, but don't really say it to people...I don't think.

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  25. These are all sayings I've used often, but I only knew where two of them came from.

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  26. When the Lion King first came out my siblings and I thought Scar's character calling himself a monkey's uncle was the funniest thing ever, and we had no idea what it meant.

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  27. I love your A to Z theme, it seems like a lot of fun.

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