Monday, April 16, 2012

O - On tenterhooks, On the Cuff, and Out in the boondocks!

Today's idioms are brought to you by the letter 'O'.
 
1. I've been waiting on tenterhooks to see if the editor liked my R&R enough to want to publish it.


Meaning: anxious, in painful suspense over how something will turn out.

Origin: In the 1700s a tenter was a frame for stretching newly woven cloth. The "tenterhook" was a hook or bent nail that held the cloth to the tenter. At that time a person who was worried sick not knowing the outcome of a situation was said to be "on tenters," meaning that their emotions were stretched out tersely. Later the phrase became "on tenterhooks," which expressed even sharper and more intense feelings.

2. I was a little short on cash, so I asked the bartender to put it on the cuff.

Meaning: on credit; to be paid later.

Origin: It is believed this expression came from the days where bartenders in old saloons wore stiff cuffs that detached from the end of their shirt sleeves. When customers wanted to pay for their drinks at a later date, the bartender often wrote the charges down on his cuffs. (Not to be confused with "off the cuff," which has to do with being impulsive.)

3. Angela lives way out in the boondocks.

Meaning: in a remote place; in rural regions; in sparsely populated areas.

Origin: Tagalogs, native Filipinos who live in or near Manila, the capital of Philippines, have a word in their language, bundok, which mean “mountain.” The US military forces stationed in the Philippines in the first half of the 20th century expanded the meaning of the word from mountain to any place that is far from heavily populated centers. It is often shortened to “in the boonies.”

Note:  Be sure to stop by tomorrow, not only for my P post (lots of good 'P' idioms - I have 7 I need to narrow down) but I'm also posting an interview of author Bonnie Rae, whose YA Novel, Nether Bound, has just come out!

28 comments:

  1. I have lived in the boonies my whole life. Never once wondered where the phrase came from.
    Love the little story that comes with "on the cuff" That's one of those I will have to share with my Papaw. He enjoys western tid-bits like that.

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  2. Oh, cool to learn where the boondocks and boonies phrases come from. Also, I always thought it was 'tenderhooks' oops. :)

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    1. I did until about a year ago when I saw it in print and had to look it up - I was SURE I was right and they were wrong. Shows what I know. :D

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  3. I've never heard of "On the cuff" before!

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  4. It's interesting to know the origin of the phrase tenterhooks. I like Kimberly always thought it was 'tenderhooks' and had something to do with hanging meat! LOL

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    1. I thought Tenderhooks for a long time, and too thought it had to do with hanging meat. LOL.

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  5. I loved reading about "on the cuff." I never would have guessed that's where the idiom came from!

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  6. Can't wait to see the sayings for Z! These are amazing.

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    1. X & Z are going to kill me. I've already been doing research.

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  7. Wow, never heard the first two. Of course I live the 3rd one.

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  8. Ooh these are so interesting! I just learned "on tenterhooks" last year while teaching a reading class. Hadn't heard of it before. I like this theme!

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  9. I don't live in the boonies, but there are a lot of boonies around here.

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  10. I never knew about tenterhooks or where the boonies came from. You're edumacating me!

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  11. I'm familiar with the boonies! I always thought it was tenderhooks too! I love learning something new!
    Heather

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    1. I did too until about a year ago when I saw it in print and had to look it up - I was SURE I was right and they were wrong. Shows what I know. :D

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  12. Awesome sayings, but I didn't know the tenderhooks one.

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  13. I live in a rural area and we've tweaked out in the boondocks to "out in the boonies."

    Oh the joys of corrupting the English language.

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    1. I think lots of people do that. My sister is Angela, the one in the sentence, and she lives in the friggen' boonies!

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  14. I've never heard of the tenterhooks one, but I have the others.

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