Monday, April 16, 2012
O - On tenterhooks, On the Cuff, and Out in the boondocks!
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!