Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Q - On the Q.T., Quick as greased lightning, Quick on the draw
1. Jenny’s cat climbed up the tree as quick as greased lightning.
Meaning: very fast.
Origin: One of the earliest uses of the phrase “greased lightning” was by an English newspaper, The Boston, Lincoln, Louth & Spalding Herald, on January 1833: “He spoke as quick as ‘greased lightning.’ Lightning is known for its speed. Many people believe that lightning already travels at the speed of light, so greasing the lightning up isn’t going to help it go any faster. But they’re wrong – wrong, I say! (Sorry, I’m getting a little punchy, which makes me silly). Lightning travels substantially slower than the speed of light. That speed varies depending on atmospheric conditions. Thus, the phrase, “grease lightning” was used to indicate turning up that speed a few notches, by greasing it up to move faster – of course, getting the grease onto the lightning is the tricky part, which… yeah, no duh.
2. Dana doesn’t know about the surprise party, so keep it on the Q.T.
Meaning: quiet; secret.
Origin: an abbreviation. In 1870 there was a popular ballad called “The Talkative Man from Poplar.” In one of the lines the word “quiet” was shortened to “q.t.” Some linguists believe this may have been used in earlier works, but after 1870 “on the q.t.” became a common phrase for “keep it quiet.” Similar: keep it on the down low (D.L.).
3. She’s quick on the draw in Math, but slow on the uptake in Reading.
Meaning: ready, alert, and quick to respond or react; quick to grasp info.
Origin: In the American West of the mid-1800s many gunslingers prided themselves on how fast they could draw their pistols from their holsters and shoot. The idea of a “quick draw” caught on and was transferred to any kind of fast action, physical or mental, such as responding quickly, answering questions rapidly, or solving problems swiftly. Similar expressions are “quick on the trigger” and quick on the uptake.
Okay, how many of you are singing: Greased lightnin', go, greased lightnin'...?
How many of you are singing it now that I asked?
(Or have no idea what I'm talking about b/c you're too young or have been living under a rock?)
I actually did the dance in my chair as I wrote this - yes, my name is Jaycee, and I am a dork. :D