Thursday, April 12, 2012

L - Let the chips fall, Long in the tooth, Lowering the boom, and Laying an egg.

Today's idioms are brought to you by the letter 'L'.

1. Ian decided to lay his cards on the table and let the chips fall where they may.

Meaning:  to do the right thing, as you see it, whatever the consequences may be.

Origin:  This idiom was first used in the 1800s and referred to woodcutters who needed to concentrate on doing a good job instead of on where the chips of wood fell from their axes.

2.  Grandma Shirley's boyfriend looks a little long in the tooth, even for her.  

Meaning:  old.

Origin:  This 19th century idiom comes from the barnyard.  As a horse ages, it's gums move back, making the teeth appear longer.  So a horse that is "long in the tooth" is getting old.  This expression was passed on to people.

3.  When the teacher saw that the kids had put tacks on her chair, she lowered the boom on them.

Meaning:  to scold or punish strictly; to make someone follow the rules.

Origin:  A boom is a long pole used on ships that stretches upward to life cargo high in the air.  Booms are also used backstage in theaters to move scenery.  if someone actually lowered a boom on your head, you might be knocked out. 

4.  Who gave Chelsea the idea that she was a good singer? She really laid an egg during the talent show.

Meaning:  to give an embarrassing performance.

Origin:  This idiom comes from Britain,, where cricket has been a popular game for centuries.  If a team failed to score a single point, it was said they laid a duck's egg, which has the same shape as a 0 on a score board.  If the US, towards the end of the 1800s, the saying "laid an egg" was applied to performers in vaudeville shows who bombed in front of their audience.  In baseball slang, the expression for zero is "goose egg" and to get no score is to "lay a goose egg."  Today, lay an egg is used if you do anything that fails totally because nobody likes it. 


32 comments:

  1. Great post. I never knew that this idiom had such origins. Thanks for sharing!

    www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

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  2. I have never even heard of long in the tooth.

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    1. I've heard it at the Renaissance Festival once or twice. :D

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  3. The only one I'd not heard before is "lowered the boom"

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    1. I like lowered the boom and am going to have to try using it. :D

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  4. Great post! "Long in the tooth" sounds so funny! And I'd never heard the laying an egg one. It's so random!

    Nikki – inspire nordic

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  5. Never heard the "long in the tooth" before. It's kind of odd.

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    1. I've only heard it at the Renaissance Festival. :D

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  6. I like the "0" laid an egg analogy. Perfect visual imagery.

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  7. Jaycee--I have always loved that phrase--Long in the tooth. Now I know how it came about. Thanks!-

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  8. You certainly didn't lay an egg with this post, Jaycee! Very interesting, and a great theme for the A-to-Z challenge! All the best to you this month. :)

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    1. Why, thank you, both for visiting and commenting.

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  9. I haven't heard the "laid an egg" one before. Interesting. :)

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  10. I have to tell a friend of mine to stop by your blog. Every time I use an idiom, I get a blank stare. Somehow, she's missed all of these old sayings.

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  11. Long in the tooth--I always wondered where that came from!

    Really enjoying reading about all these idioms. :)

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    1. Wow, someone who has actually heard it before. :D

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  12. I like 'long in the tooth', it has great imagery. Kids really take these literally. This morning a friend of mine told her daughter, "You were so happy you were clicking your heels," and she said, "No I wasn't." Made me think of your blog.

    ScribblesFromJenn
    Happy A to Z-ing!

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  13. From the receding gums of horses - didn't know that!

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  14. I love these! I didn't know the origin of any of these examples. Laying an egg finally makes sense to me :)

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  15. I love the origins of idioms. I knew these. I'm trying to visit all the A-Z Challenge Blogs this month. My A-Zs are at myqualityday.blogspot.com

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    1. I'll be sure to check them out. Thanks for visiting.

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